Scots waste the equivalent of '26 million burgers' a year

beefburger Image copyright Thinkstock

Scottish households throw away the equivalent of 26 million beefburgers a year, according to food waste campaigners.

Zero Waste Scotland said the total value of meat and fish discarded annually was about £190m.

The group estimates reducing food waste could save every household £460 a year.

It has joined forces with an Ayrshire-based butchers chain in promoting leftover recipes and tips to encourage people to discard less food.

Zero Waste Scotland said research carried out for the sustainable economy group WRAP revealed the extent and value of wasted food:

  • 2,900 tonnes of beef alone discarded annually
  • 22,000 tonnes of beef, lamb, poultry and pork thrown away each year, worth £140m
  • £5m worth of food wasted because it is not used in time

Ylva Haglund, food waste campaign manager for Zero Waste Scotland, said: "Our research has shown that despite our love of beef in Scotland, we still throw away millions of pounds worth every year, with an equivalent weight to 26 million burgers, or the weight of 13 million steaks."

Carlyn Paton, joint founder of the butchers chain We Hae Meat, which helped compile the leftover recipes, said: "There are also lots of way to make it go further through using up leftovers, utilising unused portions in a wide range of recipes or freezing it for future use, so there's no real excuse for wasting it if you have some that hasn't been used up."

Waste targets

The Scottish government this month announced a new target to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025.

Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said initiatives which encourage people to make the most of quality meat and reduce food waste "made total sense".

"QMS has been promoting the use of leftover beef, lamb and pork for more than a decade and the 300 members of our Scotch Butchers Club all use our leftover campaign information and recipes to encourage their customers to make the most of meat," he added.

Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish government to promote its Zero Waste Plan.

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