Scotland politics

Scotland wastes 1.35 million tonnes of food

Food in bin Image copyright Thinkstock

Scotland has been wasting 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink annually, according to Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS).

Households were responsible for 600,000 tonnes of the waste, while businesses generated about 740,000 tonnes.

The amount of food dumped would, according to ZWS, fill 17 million wheelie bins.

The figure, calculated from detailed information gathered in 2013, will be used as the baseline to measure future improvements.

The Scottish government has set itself the target of reducing food waste by one third by 2025.

'Moral imperative'

The financial cost to households has been calculated as £1.1bn each year - an average of £460 per household.

ZWS believes about 60% of the waste is avoidable.

Its chief executive, Iain Gulland, said: "Our research shows for the first time the true scale of the challenge we face to achieve Scotland's ambitious food waste reduction target - but it's one we are determined to take on together. Tackling the scale of wasted food in our society is an economic, environmental and moral imperative.

"We have made a good start. Since putting the issue of food waste on the map we have worked to reduce household food waste, resulting in a 6% decrease."

Food and drink production is believed to account for one-fifth of Scotland's carbon footprint.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: "This research from Zero Waste Scotland, together with the work that we are doing to measure food that doesn't make it off the farm, will set the baseline against which we will measure our target.

"We will now collaborate with organisations from all sections of the supply chain to develop options for policy interventions to meet our target."