Grocery sector outperforms domestic in waste reduction
Published:  29 November, 2013

A government-backed scheme has helped the grocery sector make more than £3bn in savings through waste reduction targets between 2010-2012.

Information from the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) Courtauld Commitment Phase 2, released yesterday, has shown that the grocery sector reduced food and packaging waste by 1.7m tonnes (mt), equating to 4.8mt of C02. WRAP said the results have shown the sector has made “significant progress” and exceeded its target.

However, the organisation pointed out that the household food waste target was narrowly missed. Despite just missing its target, household food waste was reduced by 5.3%, saving consumers around £700m and councils £20m. C02 savings associated with the reduction equated to around 930,000t.   

According to WRAP, much of the grocery sector’s success lay within its ability to innovate and optimise product packaging. This included the use of lightweight designs and recycled content, as well as looking at helping consumers understand how packaging can be recycled.

Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s CEO, said: “During the course of Courtauld 2, financial savings of around £3.1bn were made by signatories and their customers. These are impressive results. The final outcome of phase 2 shows how collaborative working achieves results that have financial benefits to the UK and deliver significant reductions in environmental impact. We know there is still more we can do and I’m delighted to see 50 leading retailers, brands and manufacturers signed up to the Courtauld Commitment’s phase 3 showing their continued commitment.”

Dan Rogerson, Minister for resource management, said he wanted to see more businesses helping consumers to waste less food and save more money. He said great progress had been made in reducing food waste and he was happy with that. But he added: “There’s still a long way to go and we will continue to work closely with food retailers and manufacturers to cut waste even further.”

Commitment goes on    

Phase 3 of the Courtauld Commitment was launched in May 2013 and will run until 2015. Within phase 3, WRAP and its signatory companies and organisations hope to further reduce the weight and carbon impact of household food waste, grocery product and packaging waste in homes and businesses.