WRAP dishes up cash for food waste

Each UK consumer throws away £424 worth of food a year, warns the environmental organisation investing £8M to limit our waste.

The government backed Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is calling for new applications to its Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund, which supports business projects that reduce household waste.

Andrew Parry, WRAP project manager said: "Consumers throw away around six million tones of food every year. As well as being a financial and resource drain, food waste in landfill makes a significant contribution to greenhouse gas production."

Like all biodegradable rubbish, food waste releases methane as it decomposes. Methane is a greenhouse gas 23 times more harmful than carbon dioxide and is responsible for nearly half of the Earth's human-induced global warming.

While industrial waste costs businesses considerable amounts of money, the fate of products after purchase is of little financial interest to producers or retailers. By part-funding these companies to research limiting household waste, WRAP ensures not only that there is progress in this area, but that the information gleaned is fed back into the wider market.

"Innovative thinking across the supply chain can help to maintain food freshness for longer, help customers to buy only as much as they need and let them know if their food is still fresh," said Mr Parry.

WRAP is particularly eager to work with producers, designers and brand owners who want to do research into the most frequently wasted foods - meat, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and dairy products.

The fund has awarded over £5M to 30 projects since its launch in November 2004 and WRAP estimates this input has saved over half a million tones of household resources.

In previous years the scheme has funded projects by Coco-Cola, Argos, Asda, Tesco, Heinz, Coors, Co-op, B&Q, Marks & Spencer, Northern Foods and Iceland.

Caroline White


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