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Farron unearths figures showing £12 billion in wasted food

December 17, 2009 12:00 AM

UK households throw out over £12billion of food waste a year according to figures obtained by Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP.

Answers to Parliamentary Questions show that households across the UK produce £480 of avoidable food waste every year, rising to £680 per year for families with children.

According to research conducted by the Waste Resources and Action Programme, about half of the edible food waste, nearly one third was fruit and vegetables, about a fifth was bread and cakes, and other common items were uncooked meat and fish, and unwanted ready meals. Most of the waste is sent to landfill where it rots, emitting the potent climate- change gas methane.

The majority of the waste comes from people "over-shopping", with people particularly tempted by the "buy one get one free" deals currently on offer. Supermarkets are increasingly trying to tempt to shoppers counting the pennies, with a number of multi-deals on items with which they have an excess of stock.

Mr Farron has called on supermarkets to drop "buy one get one free" (bogof) deals on perishable items and use the money saved to cut prices across the board. Tim has also reissued his call for the Government to fund capital costs for new Anaerobic Digesters so that any food that is wasted can be converted into green energy and has given his backing to a pilot scheme by Sainsbury in Northamptonshire to send food waste for anaerobic digestion rather than to landfill.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Given the current economic climate it's absolutely staggering that the UK throws away £12billion worth of food every year, but what makes matters worse is that this waste is easily avoidable.

"Supermarket deals offering two for the price of one have encouraged shoppers into bulk buying more than they need, which often means the leftovers are simply thrown away.

"Instead of trying to tempt shoppers with cheap 'credit-crunch' multi-deals, supermarkets should use the money they would save from scrapping these deals to cut prices across the board and help make the weekly shop cheaper for families across the UK. After all, it is not supermarkets who fund these cheap deals - it is farmers, growers and other producers who are forced to produce twice as much for the same price.

"The government should also investigate the possibility of providing 'green loans' to help develop a large scale network of anaerobic digesters across the UK so that this wasted food is put to good use through renewable energy generation."