The Lords EU Committee has branded the level of food waste in the UK ‘morally repugnant’ and called for supermarkets to end “buy one get one free” offers in a bid to reduce the amount of store-bought food waste that ends up in landfill.
The committee was speaking after the latest figures which show the UK dumps around 15 million tonnes of food every year; contributing to a total of upwards of 90 million tonnes across the EU.
Despite savvy efforts from the European Union, as well as UK-based organisations and campaigns such as WRAP, the report from the Lords EU Committee has labelled the current efforts “fragmented and un-targeted”.
With a new European Commission set to take office later this year, the committee is already piling on the pressure to see them introduce a five-year plan within six months of coming into power.
Committee chairwoman Baroness Scott said: “Food waste in the EU and the UK is clearly a huge issue. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it has serious economic and environmental implications.
“The fact that 90 million tonnes of food is wasted across the EU each year shows the extent of the problem and explains why we are calling for urgent action.
“Globally, consumers in industrialised nations waste up to 222 million tons of food a year, which is equivalent to nearly the entire level of net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We cannot allow the complexity of the issues around defining and monitoring food waste to delay action any further.
“We are calling on the new European Commission, which will be appointed in November this year, to publish a five-year strategy for reducing food waste across the EU, and to do so within six months of taking office.”
As well as calling for action from Brussels, Baroness Scott’s report also put a tremendous level of pressure on retailers to take more responsibility for their part in the food waste cycle.
“Buy One Get One Free” offers were the focus of much of the report, however calls for more food that could go to landfill to instead be sent to food banks and not cancel orders of food from farmers after the produce has been grown, a practice which leads to edible food being ploughed back into the fields.