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GMWDA commits to tackling food waste in the UK

Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) has pledged its support to tackling the global food waste crisis.

UK homes throw away an estimated 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year, more than half of which could have been eaten.

To help reduce this waste, GMWDA has signed the Courtauld Commitment 2025, joining forces with organisations including Iceland Foods Ltd, Boots UK Ltd, The Real Junk Food Project and Nando’s.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is an ambitious voluntary agreement run by, not-for-profit waste prevention body, WRAP that brings together organisations across the food system – from producer to consumer to waste disposal – to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable. Its targets are:

1. A 20% reduction in the amount of food and drink wasted in the UK
2. A 20% reduction in Greenhouse Gas Intensity (GHG) of food and drink consumed in the UK
3. A reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain

Working towards its aim of ‘zero waste’ GMWDA has set itself ambitious targets including achieving 60% recycling and 90% diversion from landfill by 2025. Latest figures show that GMWDA is already achieving over 85% diversion from landfill (data for April to July 2016) and a 50% recycling rate should be achieved by 2017/18. By pledging its support to the Courtauld Commitment, GMWDA will build on this work aiming to help cut food and drink waste by 20% in just ten years.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Chair of GMWDA said: “Reducing waste is a key priority for GMWDA and we are fully supportive of the Courtauld initiative. Right now for every two tonnes of food we eat, another tonne is waste. These are shocking statistics and our aim moving forward is to do all we can to prevent this amount of waste. Not only will it be better for the environment, it’s better for our residents’ pockets and could save the average family up to £700 per year. We are looking forward to working closely with our local authorities and other organisations across the UK, including WRAP, to achieve a greater reduction in the amount of food that is wasted. This, together with our continued work to increase recycling and divert waste from landfill will have a positive impact on our communities and the environment, moving us ever closer to our vision of ‘zero waste’.”

Currently, the average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals a week. However, many families still do not recognise how much food goes to waste from their homes. 60% still believe they waste ‘none’ or ‘hardly any’ food and over one third don’t know how much they could save by reducing their food waste.

To encourage residents to think about the amount of food they waste and show them how to make the most of the food they buy, GMWDA will deliver a series of Love Food Hate Waste campaigns across Greater Manchester. This will include better planning of meals, information on date labelling and what food can be frozen, buying less but more often, storing food to keep it at its best, correct portioning and providing lots of recipes to show what can be done with leftovers.

Steve Creed, Director at WRAP said: “Courtauld 2025 is our most ambitious agreement yet and we are delighted that GMWDA has pledged their support as a signatory. We are faced with some big challenges ahead with rising populations, climate change and dwindling resources. But tackling food waste offers a practical option to address these challenges and in doing so, will create new opportunities. Only by working together can we hope to realise the big changes that are essential to ensuring a more prosperous future for individuals, businesses and the planet.”

GMWDA continues to deliver communications and targeted campaigns to increase reuse and recycling across Greater Manchester through its ‘Recycle for Greater Manchester’ brand. The current recycling rate across GMWDA Districts (Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Salford Tameside and Trafford) is 44.2%* (2015/16).

*Subject to final Environmental Agency verification.

Recycle for Greater Manchester