Sending food and packaging waste to landfill not only wastes the resources used in their production, but also adds to total greenhouse gas emissions through decomposition. Even though most food waste is generated by households rather than manufacturers, FDF members recognise the need to lead by example in their own operations.

FDF's waste reduction targets are delivered through the WRAP Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement involving manufacturers, retailers and other supply chain partners.

Final results for phase 2 of the Commitment show an absolute reduction in supply chain waste of 7.4% since 2009, compared to a target of 5%. This equates to a weight reduction of some 217,000 tonnes and has been achieved despite an increase in production volumes over the same period.

Household food waste has shown a slower decline at just 3.4%, but this increases to 5.3% if unavoidable waste is excluded, against an absolute target of 4% for the reporting period.

WRAP has also just published new estimates showing a total reduction in avoidable household food waste of 21% since 2007. This suggests that more needs to be done to restore earlier momentum and meet WRAP's aspiration of halving the total by 2025. FDF supports this call and is ready to work with retailers, brands, governments and consumers to achieve it.

FDF undertakes its own surveys to collect data on members' food and packaging waste arisings in order to track progress towards our own zero waste to landfill target, which we aim to achieve by 2015 at the latest. We have just conducted our third such survey, in collaboration with WRAP. Full findings will not be available until early 2014, but headline results suggest that members continue to find new ways of preventing or diverting waste to other uses, sending only 3% to landfill in 2012 compared to 16.5% in 2006.

In addition FDF has been working with supply chain partners, charities, other industry bodies and WRAP to look at ways of increasing the amount of food redistributed by the grocery sector to those in need. A new set of guiding principles for redistributing surplus food has been agreed and FDF is promoting this to members.

We have also been active in supporting and developing wider food waste initiatives, such as the 'Every Crumb Counts' joint food wastage declaration launched by FoodDrink Europe and other European food chain organisations.

Case studies: Waste

McCain Foods

McCain FoodsCommitted to responsible environmental practices, McCain Foods works across the supply chain to implement integrated waste management techniques throughout its operations and with its supply partners.

Following a farm to fork approach, McCain Foods seek to reduce waste throughout the supply chain, from working with growers to maximise crop utilisation, to recovering potato starch from process water which is anaerobically fermented to generate biogas, which combined with three wind turbines, meets 80% of electrical requirement for their Whittlesey site (near Peterborough).

Potatoes are therefore used more efficiently at their factories, with 99% of food waste recycled into animal feed, by-products or renewable energy, resulting in under 60grams per tonne being sent to landfill. Through partnership with FareShare, surplus products are donated to support communities and reduce food waste.

McCain Foods invests in sustainable technology, anaerobic lagoons have been installed at two of their sites, along with a reverse osmosis plant, all contributing towards their goal of sending less than 1% waste to landfill.

Scottish Industry Advisory Group on Resource Efficiency

Scottish Industry Advisory Group on Resource Efficiency

The Scottish Industry Advisory Group on Resource Efficiency is a jointinitiative putting the development of resource efficiency best practice in the hands of business.

The Group formed in early 2013 and is a partnership between the Scottish Food & Drink Federation, Resource Efficient Scotland and Interface Food & Drink.

Having members identify key priorities and test solutions within their own operations ensures that the Group focuses only on issues that are important. It also means that solutions are both cost-effective and practical for food and drink manufacturers.

An early proposal resulted in Gordon & MacPhail, Mackies, Macphie of Glenbervie and Dean's of Huntly agreeing to participate in a collaborative trial for recycling contaminated plastics. As a direct result of this trial, eight companies in the Grampian region now participate in a milk-round collection for slightly contaminated plastics.

By working together, these companies have decreased the amount of waste sent to landfill which in turn, has reduced their company waste disposal costs.


In this report

Last reviewed: 16 Dec 2013