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Britons produce 15% less food waste, but households still throw out the most food, new review suggests

2 min read
Food waste in bin

More people are being mindful about food waste in the UK, but the largest amount of food being thrown out still happens in Britons’ homes according to new data from the Office for National Statistics, Sustainable Development Goals and Waste and Resources Action Programme.

The review on ‘Household behaviour in relation to food waste, recycling, energy use and air travel’ compared data on unconsumed food from 2007 with that from 2018, showing a reduction from 11.2 million tonnes of waste in 2007 (181 kg per person) to 9.5 million tonnes in 2018.

The analysis showed people aged between 55 and 64 were the most likely group to try and prevent throwing food away in comparison to other demographics, with 60% of them having reported to have made this effort in comparison to 48% of 16–24-year-olds.

Most unconsumed food in 2018 however still came from the home according to the review. 70% of the total amount of food waste measured in the UK – 6.6. million tonnes in total – came from households, which is only slightly less than in 2007 when 72% of waste was produced from homes.

The remaining percentage of unconsumed food came from manufacturers (16%), hospitality and food service (12%) and grocery retail (3%).

The review also focused on the recycling rate between 2010 and 2019, which showed an increase of UK households recycling their waste by 5%. Wales had the largest waste from households being recycled out of the whole country, while Northern Ireland came in second place.

Developments in recent years that have addressed the problem of food waste in the UK include the Slow Food Movement and start-ups such as KnoWaste, OLIO and Oddbox.


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