UK - SUMMARY OF POLICIES AND LEGISLATION FOR FOOD WASTE PREVENTION AND REDUCTION
WRAP recently announced that there are 1.3 million tonnes less household food waste in 2012 compared to 2007, a 15% reduction, despite an increase of 4% in the number of households in the UK. Almost all, 85% (1.1 million tonnes; or enough to completely fill Wembley Stadium) of this reduction was in food that could have been eaten (avoidable). Avoidable household food waste reduced by 21%, which would have cost GBP 3.3 billion to purchase. This means on average every household in the United Kingdom not having to spend GBP 130 a year on food bought but thrown away, helping to mitigate the impact of rising food prices. In addition this will have prevented 4.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, and saved a billion tonnes of water. Each country in the UK has a different waste prevention programme: none of them is anyway exclusively focused on food waste.
England has a Waste Prevention Programme (2013), an Anaerobic Digestion Framework, a Review of Waste Policy and a Food industry Sustainability Strategy in place. The Waste Prevention Programme aims at encouraging businesses to contribute to a more sustainable economy by building waste reduction into design, offering alternative business models and delivering new and improved products and services and to support action by central and local government, businesses and civil society to capitalise on these opportunities. The Anaerobic Digestion Framework (2010) sets out the steps needed to increase energy from waste in England through anaerobic digestion (AD).
The Review of waste policy in England (2011) sets out 13 commitments that will set England on the path towards a zero waste economy. It prioritises efforts to manage waste in line with the waste hierarchy: food waste that arises is recognised as a valuable resource, and should be processed to produce renewable energy and a bio- fertiliser so that nutrients are returned to the soil; therefore meaning that no food waste should go to landfill. The Food industry sustainability strategy (2011) helps the Food Industry contribute to the UK’s sustainability goal.
Wales has the Towards Zero Waste (2010) food waste strategy, the Food for Wales, Food from Wales strategy 2010-2020, the Wholesale and Retail Sector Plan (2014), the Municipal Sector Plan (2011) and the Wales Waste Prevention Programme (2013) in place. The Towards Zero Waste describes a long term framework for resource efficiency and waste management between now and 2050. Towards Zero Waste is a waste strategy document, not a detailed action plan.
Food for Wales, Food from Wales 2010-2020 aims to develop a clear direction for the Welsh food industry to grow over the next 10 years. It provides the basis for an integrated approach to food policy in Wales by taking into consideration cross-cutting issues such as health, food culture and education, food security, environmental sustainability, community development. The Wholesale and Retail Sector Plan (2014) looks at food and associated packaging waste while the Municipal Sector Plan (2011) looks at education and behaviour changes of consumers with regards to reducing household food waste. The Wales Waste Prevention Programme (2013) describes the outcomes, policies, targets and outline work programme to address waste prevention from businesses, households and the public sector.
Scotland has a Zero Waste Plan (2010) and a Food Strategy (2008) in place. This Zero Waste Plan describes Scotland as a place where all waste is seen as a resource; waste is minimised; valuable resources are not disposed of in landfills, and most waste is sorted. The Food strategy (2009) promotes Scotland's sustainable economic growth by ensuring that the Scottish Government's focus in relation to food and drink addresses quality, health and wellbeing, and environmental sustainability.
In Northern Ireland, the Delivering Resource Efficiency - Waste Strategy is the only document that highlights a number of policy and legislative proposals like the development of a Waste Prevention Programme and the introduction of a landfill restriction on food waste.
As for the market based instruments, the major ones with implications on food waste includes the Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme, implemented in England which is a scheme aimed at helping waste disposal authorities to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill and the Landfill Tax Escalator that creates a financial incentive to reduce waste, because the cost of landfilling a tonne of waste is rising.
Regulatory instruments might refer to the entire UK or to specific countries or to more than one country but not to the entire UK. In some cases they enforce the requirements of the EU régulations. The Environmental Protection Act Waste Management Code of Practice, 1990 is designed to be an essentially self-regulating system which is based on good business practice. It places a duty on anyone who in any way has a responsibility for controlled waste to ensure that it is managed properly and recovered or disposed of safely. The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 SI 2839 is in force in England, Scotland and Wales and ensures that responsibility is taken by the producers of waste for managing their waste and avoiding harm to human health or environment. Only in Northern Ireland Controlled Waste (Duty of Care) Regulations SR 2002/271 are in place: they create a duty of care for controlled waste that requires all producers, carriers and managers of waste to keep records and use waste transfer notes.
The grocery supply code of practice 2010 provides details on how designated retailers should manage their relationship with suppliers, to ensure compliance with both the Order and the Code. In June 2013 a new Groceries Code Adjudicator was appointed to oversee the Code.
The Animal By-Products (Enforcement)(England) Regulations 2013 No. 2013/2952These regulations enforce the requirements of the EU regulations. Similar legislation applies in the rest of the UK.
Waste Regulations for England and Wales and Waste Regulations for Scotland: both of them - although with some differences - introduce first the prevention or reduction of waste production and its harmfulness and secondly the recovery of waste by means of recycling and re-use.
Figure 1. UK’s Policy Mix at December 2014
Among the voluntary agreements, the Courtauld Commitment is the one that aims at improving resource efficiency and reducing waste within the UK grocery sector. The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments and delivered by WRAP.
As for communication, the "Love Food Hate Waste" campaign is the main campaign alongside public events like Feeding the 5K. The LFHW campaign was launched by WRAP in 2007 to help deliver practical ways to reduce food waste, in order to help consumers optimise the food and drink they buy, and throw less away. Among other measures and products, the Product Sustainability Forum (PSF) founded by WRAP is notable, as it is a collaboration of organisations made up of grocery and home improvement retailers and suppliers, academics, NGOs and UK Government représentatives. This forum provides a platform for organisations to work together to measure, improve and communicate the environmental performance of the grocery and home improvement products (which includes the reduction in waste).
W.A.S.T.E. is a process developed by WRAP that helps food manufacturing businesses identify waste and reduce it within their operations and across supply chains.
From the above reported information it should be noted that UK wants to move towards a ‘zero waste economy’, meaning that it aims to become a society where resources are fully valued, both financially and environmentally. Reducing waste is a UK priority and it will be achieved by supporting action by central and local government, businesses and civil society.
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A) UK’S NATIONAL PLAN/STRATEGY ON FOOD WASTE REDUCTION
UK Government, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affair, Waste Prevention Programme for England (2013)
UK Government, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affair, Anaerobic Digestion Framework (2010)
UK Government, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affair, Review of waste policy in England (2011)
UK Government, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affair, Food industry sustainability strategy (2011)
Welsh Government, Towards Zero Waste (2010)
Welsh Government, Food for Wales, Food from Wales - Wales Food strategy 2010-2020
Welsh Government, Wholesale and Retail Sector Plan and Municipal Sector Plan (2011)
Welsh Government, Waste Prevention Programme (2013)
Scottish Government, Zero Waste Plan (2010)
Scottish Government, Waste Prevention Programme, Safeguarding Scotland’s Resources (2013)
Scottish Government, Food strategy (2009)
The Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland), Waste strategy - Delivering Resource Efficiency (2013)
B) MARKET-BASED INSTRUMENTS
Landfill allowances trading scheme (England) 2005
Available from: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/880/contents/made
The landfill tax escalator 1996
Available from: http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN01963.pdf
C) REGULATORY INSTRUMENTS/REGULATIONS TRADING SCHEMES
Reforming and managing marine fisheries for a prosperous fishing industry and a healthy marine environment, 2013
Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/reforming-and-managing-marine-fisheries-for-a-prosperous-fishing-industry-and-a-healthy-marine-environment
Environmental Protection Act Waste Management Code of Practice, 1990
Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 SI 2839 - England, Scotland and Wales
The Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations Statutory Instrument Number 2200 1995
Controlled Waste (Duty of Care) Regulations SR 2002/271 Northern Ireland only
Grocery Supply Code of Practice, 2010
Animal By-Products (Enforcement)(England) Regulations 2013 No. 2013/2952
Waste Management Licensing Regulations SSI 2011/228 Scotland only
The Waste Regulations 2011:998 England and Wales
The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012: 148
UK Climate Change Act
D) VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT
Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments, Courtauld Commitment (delivered by WRAP) (2005-2015)
Hospitality and food service voluntary agreement (2012 -ongoing)
UK Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF)
E) RESEARCH AND TECHNICAL REPORTS
WRAP (2014), UK food waste – Historical changes and how amounts might be influenced in the future.
WRAP (2014), Research and reports handy summaries – grocery sector.
WRAP (2012), Estimates of waste in the food and drink supply chain.
WRAP (2012), Household food and drink waste in the UK.
DEFRA (2011), Review of environmental and health effects of waste management: Municipal solid waste and similar wastes.
DEFRA (2011), Applying the waste hierarchy: evidence summary
UK Government, Department for Business Innovation & Skills, Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures, Synthesis Report C7: Reducing waste (2011).
DEFRA (2006) Saving money by reducing waste: a practical guide for farmers and growers.
F) COMMUNICATION AND CAMPAIGNS
WRAP, Love Food Hate Waste Campaign
IGD Charity, Working on Waste Campaign
Feedback, Feeding the 5000
G) PROJECTS AND OTHER MEASURES
WRAP, Innovation in Waste Prevention Fund (2014/2015)
WRAP, The Product Sustainability Forum (PSF)
UK Government, Household Reward and Recognition Fund (2012)
All links have been accessed for the last time on October 28, 2015.