I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself: I’ve just tweaked the temperature control dial in our fridge. And it’s shocking to think that if every household made sure their fridges were no warmer than 5°C, the loss of milk in the UK each year would be cut by 50,000 tonnes. These lost ‘pintas’ cost a remarkable £25 million.
In 2005, when we first embarked on our ambitious journey to tackle food and packaging waste in the UK through an expansive voluntary agreement which aimed to span the whole of the supply chain, there was a good helping of scepticism.
How could we keep a huge, complex industry, often with competing interests, in an increasingly volatile economic environment, united under a single goal: to reduce waste and cut the resources needed to provide UK’s food & drink?
In tackling the complex issue of plastic pollution, WRAP has consistently said that any fiscal measures need to be part of a holistic response which aims to transform the entire plastics system in the UK. We have also long argued for incentives to boost the demand for packaging made from recycled content.
The recent summit of The UK Plastics Pact aired many successes, but also some challenges, and one was the role of biodegradable and compostable plastics.
Within the last six days, two major reports have reminded us that food waste remains one of the most significant global issue facing us all, with far-reaching and devastating effects on our shared environment, the economy and on our global population. Remember, a third of all food is wasted worldwide worth nearly a trillion dollars.
Like many, I watched Hugh and Anita’s War on Plastic last week. Whether or not we like this style of journalism, programmes like this certainly make everyone think.
Defra’s Waste Prevention Programme Review was published last week. It provides a summary of waste prevention activity in England from 2013-19, listing a vast array of programmes and their impacts. The review, covering food, clothing and electricals, suggests nearly 400,000 tonnes of waste have been prevented in total since 2013 as a result of actions taken by organisations collaborating with the Government. Not surprisingly, WRAP programmes feature heavily.
By Peter Maddox, Director WRAP and Anne Bordier, Charity Programmes Director, IGD
Following nearly two decades of research and innovation, the UK has become a world leader in the field of food waste prevention, with businesses across the supply chain truly committed to tackling this important issue. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic upon us, more immediate business priorities are rightly taking precedence at the moment, such as protecting furloughed staff and mitigating against business closure. However, through our conversations with businesses and trade bodies in recent weeks, it’s clear that food waste prevention is ingrained in the strategic operations of many businesses and remains an important focus for most.
My wife and I joined many in the UK last week in the difficult ritual of supporting one of our children (we have three daughters) through the anxious wait for A Level results. It was particularly stressful this year - with no actual exams and then what followed. I have been involved with schools as a governor for many years and education is a passion of mine, so I was very concerned about the consequences for all students. It prompted me to reflect on how something as important as our education system could so easily be sent into turmoil by COVID-19.
How to survive is understandably the main priority for hard-hit businesses as they salvage what they can from the wreckage of lockdown. But those which go on to thrive will have used this unique moment to invest in changes to their business which hardwire in resilience to future shocks.