Scottish Government
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National food waste campaign

A new national campaign encouraging people across Scotland to help combat the environmental and financial impact of food waste was launched yesterday. 

One-fifth of the food and drink we buy ends up being thrown away. This is the equivalent of an average Scottish household having another mouth to feed and avoidable food waste costs the average Scottish household £430 a year. 

Two-thirds of the food and drink we waste could be used. This campaign gives simple steps to reduce food waste and save money these include:

  • checking cupboards and writing a list before shopping
  • planning meals in advance
  • sensible portion planning
  • checking date labelling and storage information
  • using up or freezing leftovers and freezing

Every year, avoidable food waste costs the Scottish public £1 billion and creates harmful greenhouse gases. Reducing this waste could help cut carbon emissions equal to taking one car in five off Scotland’s roads.

Launching the food waste campaign, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: 

"We all waste food but by making a few simple changes to the way we plan our meals, to our weekly food shopping, to using up leftovers and to better storage, we can help our pockets and the environment too. If we stopped avoidable food waste we’d save around £35 per household per month. 

"The new food waste reduction campaign aims to benefit everyone by providing practical help and advice, it seeks to empower everyone to shop smarter, waste less, save more and help create a greener, cleaner Scotland now and for the future."

The Scottish Government has committed to ambitious climate change targets of a 42 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. This includes a ban on food waste, from landfill by the end of 2020, which will help reduce emissions.

Reducing food waste is seven times better for the environment than any recycling option, but sometimes it can’t be avoided and food recycling services are now being rolled out in towns and cities across Scotland. Recycling our food waste can generate renewable energy and be turned into a fertiliser to benefit Scottish farmers.

Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability said:

"COSLA is pleased to support the food waste prevention campaign. COSLA welcomes this campaign and the focus on prevention in the first instance as this has the dual advantage of being good for the environment and for household budgets.

"Councils have demonstrated great progress towards achieving the zero waste vision we share with the Scottish government, and local authorities are rolling out food waste collection services across Scotland to help communities to recycle unavoidable food waste.

"Good progress has been made but reducing council budgets will come under more pressure to continue this direction of travel. Small steps by individuals to tackle food waste will make continuing this progress an easier task in hard times."

Related information: 

Greener Scotland