Food waste reduction: action plan

Sets out how Scotland can work to deliver it's commitment to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025.

Measuring progress and demonstrating success

Leadership, governance and delivery

Leadership is vital to the success of this Plan. The Scottish Government will drive policy and Zero Waste Scotland will deliver its Measures. A clear definition of roles and responsibilities among the many players across the food waste landscape will be important to the Plan's effectiveness. A lead organisation has been identified for each Measure and they will drive actions and activities in collaboration with their stakeholders.

Investing for success

Achieving such an ambitious target will require significant investment. This need not all be 'new' money and we could optimise our use of the existing innovation and business support funding streams available through Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Enterprise Agencies. Measures focused on research and innovation could benefit from national, UK and European funding streams.

So far, Scotland has invested close to £30 million in food waste prevention, management and re-use. To reduce food waste by 33% by 2025, implementing the Measures outlined in this Plan, we anticipate a further investment of approximately £20 million.

This Plan will make a return on this investment. Reducing food waste by 33% by 2025 will save the public sector, businesses and households money. It will also reduce our national environmental impact and show Scotland as a leader in the global fight against climate change.

Measuring progress

This Plan aims to reduce Scotland's food waste by 33%. To achieve this, we must establish clear methods for measuring progress towards that target.

It is difficult to predict the exact impact or success of the Measures outlined in this Plan. Scotland's ambitious 33% target is not something that can be achieved by replicating actions from somewhere else, there are no examples to follow, although other countries are also working towards a food waste reduction target and learning and experience can be shared.

Food waste solutions are seldom 'off the shelf' or from a directly transferable situation and they are always difficult to measure. Furthermore, the precise delivery of these Measures is highly likely to affect the scale and speed with which they make an impact.

Baseline and food waste monitoring developments

Scotland's first full food waste baseline used 2013 data (Zero Waste Scotland 2016) from SEPA and Zero Waste Scotland studies. The 2013 baseline estimate has since been updated (see Scottish Baseline Update Technical Briefing); deploying improvements in knowledge and methods from around the world. This Plan utilises the updated baseline.

We will continue to monitor and update estimates of food waste in Scotland, to track the reductions that the Plan generates, and to use our improving knowledge of where waste is and how it can best be tackled.

Several Measures in this Plan will improve the quality of our data and, as a result, they will help to make us more effective in tackling specific issues.

The EU is expected to require the standardised reporting of food waste from Member States from 2020 onwards, and the Scottish Government expects to comply with this.

Until then, food waste will not, at least initially, be reported annually because of the high cost of delivering some elements of food waste measurement, infrastructure requirements, and the need to give policy interventions time to take effect.

A detailed monitoring and reporting timeline will be developed by the Waste Data Strategy Board to align with the progress reporting timeline of this Plan.

Keeping the Plan on track

This Plan outlines a dynamic and agile programme to reach our 33% reduction in Scotland's food waste. It also provides the structure for its reporting and review. In 2021, the Food Waste Hub will review and assess the latest estimates of Scotland's food waste and our progress towards target. This will be an important reporting milestone, before which potential options will be developed to:

  • Optimise success;
  • Integrate new solutions and technologies and;
  • To address any challenges to the Plan's progress.

Leadership is vital to the success of this Plan

This Plan aims to reduce Scotland's food waste by 33%



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