Reducing Food Waste in the UK

Food waste has significant economic, environmental and social impacts that present serious global challenges and require continued and targeted action. If we hope to create a truly sustainable world, we must transform the way we produce and consume our natural resources.
Three major Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) studies published in 2013 and 2016 estimated annual food waste within UK households, hospitality and food service, food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors at around 10 million tonnes of food. 85% of this waste comes from homes and 60% of this could have been avoided while research shows that the average family (with children) spends £700 a year on food that is wasted. This waste has an annual value of approximately £17 billion a year (including 12.5 billion for households) Accounting for the whole life cycle, it is estimated that avoidable food waste in the UK is responsible for 20 million of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 5,400 million cubic tonnes of water per year.
Currently waste policy is mainly driven by the EU Waste Framework Directive, which may change as Britain begins the process of leaving the EU. As such, the Government looks to voluntary initiatives, rather than a regulatory approach, to deliver food waste reductions in England. UK-wide voluntary initiatives are led primarily by WRAP, supported by funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) the devolved administrations and the EU. Examples of current WRAP initiatives include: Courtauld 2025: a 10 year voluntary agreement targeting food waste across the food chain. Love Food Hate Waste: a consumer campaign to enable individuals to make decisions on food purchasing, management and consumption. These initiatives have successfully increased awareness and contributed to a reduction of 1.3 million tonnes (equivalent to 15%) of household food and drink waste in the UK between 2007-2012. In further progress, 11 million households now have access to a food waste collection service.
Given that we throw away more food from our homes than packaging in the UK every year, reducing food waste requires us all to take action. This timely symposium provides the opportunity for waste management officers, food waste prevention teams, recycling officers, food sustainability managers, health professionals, local authorities and other key stakeholders to assess the latest developments in food waste policy, consider strategies to reduce food waste effectively and ways to encourage partnership working to ensure that behaviour change becomes embedded both in local communities and at the national level.

Delegates will: * Assess the latest developments in UK food waste policy * Examine the regulation of food waste following the EU referendum and discuss potential future changes * Consider ways to more effectively promote partnerships at the national level and community initiatives at the local level * Explore ways to decrease the environmental impact of food waste at each stage of the supply chain * Gain insights into the commercial aspects of tackling food waste – assess retail responsibilities, the benefit of cooperation and encouraging consumers to waste less * Focus on identifying innovative strategies to reduce food waste and redistribute food surplus to those in need * Establish the value of raising public awareness on food waste and educating the public to make more conscious decisions to avoid food waste * Have the opportunity to share best practice, evaluate progress and consider next steps for overcoming the main challenges associating with reducing food waste