Food manufacturers cut landfill waste again

In 2012, UK food manufacturers prevented 250,000 tonnes of food from entering the waste stream. Image courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The Food and Drink Federation’s annual waste survey has revealed substantial reductions in the amount of food and packaging waste being sent to land fill by manufacturers in its sector.

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) report showed that only 3% of UK food and packaging waste was disposed of in landfill in 2012, compared to 16.5% in 2006.

The report, which was published jointly with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) highlighted significant improvements to waste management approaches at manufacturing year on year.

In 2006 16.5% of food and packaging waste was sent to landfill and this was reduced to 12.5% in 2008 and to 9% in 2009.

In 2012, UK food manufacturers prevented 250,000 tonnes of food from entering the waste stream according to FDF’s study.

It did this by redirecting waste to other uses, notably to animal feed.

Recycling also showed a significant increase with 28% of all waste managed in this way, increasing to 96% for used packaging alone.

FDF says these results demonstrate that food and drink manufacturers are delivering real progress towards achieving the trade body’s target of zero food and packaging waste to landfill target by 2015.

Following the release of the 2013 waste survey results Andrew Kuyk, Director of Sustainability at the Food and Drink Federation, said that tackling food waste is a key priority for the food industry.

Manufacturers are driven by the need to make  both to make their resources “go further” he continued but by a need to conserve key natural resources in order to safeguard future production.

“These latest findings highlight that FDF members are close to achieving our zero food and packaging waste target by ingraining good environmental practices to deliver a more resilient and resource efficient supply chain,” observed Mr Kuyk.

“Working in partnership with independent bodies such as WRAP and our partners across the supply chain, the industry has been able to ensure significant progress to reach these targets, enabling manufacturers to waste less or use any that is generated in a more environmentally friendly way.”

Andy Dawe, head of food and drink at WRAP added: “We are delighted to see these latest results which show good progress from the industry.

“With waste to landfill now so low, businesses should grasp the opportunity to focus on the greater financial savings achievable through focussing on waste prevention.”

Mr Dawe concluded with a commitment to support businesses and the food supply chain as a whole in indenitfying new opportunities for waste prevention.