Food waste reduction: action plan

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

Improved monitoring and infrastructure

Enhancing food waste monitoring and measurement

Lead organisation: SEPA and Zero Waste Scotland

To act on food waste, we need to improve our monitoring, measurement and reporting of food waste across all sectors. This will:

  • help to identify waste hotspots;
  • drive the development of money-saving solutions;
  • facilitate the more accurate measurement of food waste in the supply chain;
  • encourage large businesses to develop Key Performance Indicators and to compare the performances of companies or sites;
  • find resources for biorefining;
  • identify companies with an interest in developing bioeconomy solutions;
  • assess the volumes and types of materials that are available;
  • develop relevant networks, and ultimately;
  • divert suitable materials from the total food waste stream to other uses in line with the food waste hierarchy.
  • review current practices in the coding and reporting of waste materials at manufacturing and waste management sites to identify and resolve inconsistent practice and drive improvement.

The multi-stakeholder Scottish Waste Data Strategy Board will have a lead role in implementing this Measure. We will also continue to share our knowledge and learn from international partners through forums such as the EU Platform on Food Loss and Food Waste.

To deliver improved monitoring of our food waste we will:

  • Improve the measurement, reporting and baselining of food loss and food waste for all sectors;
  • Consult on mandatory public annual reporting of Scotland's food surplus and waste by food businesses in by end of 2019, building on the developments within the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap;
  • Consult on seeking legal powers for a mandatory Food Waste Reduction Target by the end of 2019 as stated in Good Food Nation Statement of Measures (September 2018);
  • Develop an infrastructure, built on existing expertise, to support the reporting of food waste and;
  • Identify food waste 'hotspots' across all sectors and develop innovative ways to tackle them.

Breaking down barriers to food waste reuse and recycling

Lead organisation: Scottish Government and SEPA

Although food waste recycling is not a directly preventative Measure, it does raise awareness of food waste and it facilitates the re-use of organic resources into fertiliser, new products, fuel, or energy. We can promote and encourage the use of separate food waste collections to raise awareness and encourage engagement among householders and businesses.

Enhanced monitoring of food waste segregation would increase compliance among businesses. Barriers such as geography and the costs of collection mean that rural householders, businesses and organisations have more limited access to segregated food waste collections than those in urban areas. At present, rural businesses and organisations are not required to separate their food waste for collection, although many of the contributors to food waste sources are rural.

In other areas, where food waste collections may be available, barriers to participation include communal waste storage and social factors such as access to education and information, cultural differences and language barriers.

We must work to improve not just the volume but the quality of our food waste recycling to ensure it can be effectively reused or recycled and will not be a source of environmental contamination.

To address these issues, we will:

  • Identify the barriers to food waste reuse and recycling through focused stakeholder engagement with relevant householder groups, communities, businesses and local authorities;
  • Co-design recycling and reuse solutions that benefit both citizens and local authorities;
  • Consult on the rural exemption and review the food waste separation requirements by the end of 2019 and;
  • Deliver audience-appropriate communications to raise people's awareness and participation in food waste recycling;
  • Work with SEPA and local authorities to drive improvements in the quality of recycling from households and businesses across Scotland.



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