Resource efficiency organisation Zero Waste Scotland has sent out a message to the Scottish people to “shop smart and save money” over the festive season. The group is calling upon Scots to collectively tackle the 50,375 tonnes of food and drink expected to be binned in December, by using and storing leftovers.

Zero Waste Scotland food waste campaigns manager Ylva Haglund said: “With all the food most of us buy in the run up to Christmas, this can be a difficult time of year to avoid throwing food out. But taking a little bit of time to check your fridge and cupboards and make use of what you already have can save you a lot of money.

“The average household could save £460 a year by putting food to better use – simply by thinking ahead when shopping for meals, freezing extra portions and following recipes to use up any ingredients instead of just buying more.”

Additionally, Zero Waste Scotland figures suggest Scots are expected to throw away more than 3.5 million mince pies, 240,000 Christmas puddings and the equivalent of 100,00 turkeys. Using up and storing all these items could save more than £3m, the organisation claims. 

National effort

Food and drink accounts for approximately 20% of Scotland’s carbon footprint from consumption. To combat this, the Scottish Government recently set an ambitious target to reduce food and drink waste by 33% by 2025 compared to a 2013 baseline.

Scotland has already taken strides to tackle food waste, having cut the amount of household waste per year by 6% between 2009 and 2014 – saving approximately £92m in household budgets nationally.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham MSP said: “At Christmas it can be tempting to buy – and therefore waste – more food. But with a little preparation people can save money and be kinder to the environment.

“In Scotland we are working towards a 33% reduction in food waste by 2025. That’s the most ambitious target in Europe, and everyone in Scotland has an important part to play in helping the country achieve that goal.”

Last month, Zero Waste Scotland called upon Scottish businesses to prove “clear leadership” on tackling food waste. Businesses were urged to play a pioneering role in reducing the 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted in the country each year – most of which comes from the commercial and industrial sectors.

Alex Baldwin

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