'Ambitious' target to halve food waste in Wales by 2025

By Steffan Messenger
BBC Wales Environment Correspondent


A new target to halve the amount of food being wasted in Wales by 2025 is being announced by the Welsh Government.

Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths is to consult on plans for a 50% reduction on 2006-7 levels.

Though not legally-binding, the food waste target could potentially be one of the world's most ambitious.

The EU recently agreed to halve food waste by 2030 while the USA has a similar goal.

The aim is to encourage more food recycling but also less leftover food in the first place - so reducing the amount of food which ends up in the fridge but is never eaten and fewer leftovers.

Scotland was the first UK nation to introduce a food waste target, a reduction of 33% by 2025.

Promotional campaigns, a doggy bag scheme for restaurants and legislation requiring local authorities to provide food waste recycling points have been introduced.

Media caption,
Gareth Evans, of Agrivert Anaerobic Digestion Plant, says food can generate much electricity

The Scottish government's Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham will visit Newport on Thursday to meet her Welsh Government counterpart and compare approaches.

Wales is leading the rest of the UK on recycling rates, and would currently place second in European rankings and third in the world.

The announcement comes a week ahead of the release of annual recycling figures, with the Welsh Government indicating that an improvement is expected on last year's rate of 60%.

That compares to 43.9% in England and 44.2% in Scotland.

But Ms Griffiths said food waste remained an area where "improvements can be made".

Figures compiled by Wrap Cymru suggest about £550m of edible food was thrown away from homes in Wales in 2015.

However the amount of household food waste reduced compared with the rest of the UK.

It found the amount being thrown out by each person fell by 12% between 2009 and 2015 and is now lower than the rest of the UK by about 9%.

It could be due to lower income levels and better separate waste collections, Wrap Cymru said.

All local authorities now collect food waste in a separate caddy in Wales, compared to just 27% in the UK.

"If just half of all the food and dry recyclables found in Wales' bins were recycled, Wales would reach its 2025 recycling target of 70% nine years early," Ms Griffiths said.

The Scottish and Welsh Environment Secretaries will highlight areas where both devolved governments have set more ambitious targets than the UK government on environmental issues such as waste management.

They will pledge to work together to "resist" any attempt to return powers over devolved matters like the environment to Westminster after Brexit via the proposed EU Withdrawal Bill.

The UK government has said more powers will come to the devolved administrations after UK-wide frameworks on issues such as trade have been agreed.

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