UPDATE: The second reading was postponed to 4th March and apparently it won’t proceed. More details to follow soon. Keep up the good work!
On 29th January 2016 Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, will present her Food Waste Bill for a second reading. This is why we need YOU to help it succeed:
- 1/3 food in the world is needlessly wasted. This equates to 28% of global agricultural land – equivalent to the land mass of China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia combined! In the UK this amounts to 15 million tonnes of edible food being wasted every year.
- More than 50% of food waste happens before it even reaches our shopping trolleys. While household food waste has reduced by 20% since 2007, government policies have largely ignored the food waste generated by the food industry throughout the supply chain.
- Supermarkets have a disproportionate amount of control over how much food is wasted throughout food supply lines, pushing the responsibility to their suppliers by cancelling orders at short notice and declining produce based on cosmetic standards [feedbackglobal.org/stopdumping/]. It is also currently cheaper for them to sell food nearing its sell by date for anaerobic digestion and composting rather than redistribution to human or livestock feed. Not only does this prevent perfectly edible food from being eaten, it only provides a very minimal energy output.
- Meanwhile, approximately 4 million adults and children are not getting their 5 a day because fruit and veg is too expensive, leading to a myriad of health problems; and food poverty continues to rise in the UK.
- The UK is lagging far behind in terms of food waste redistribution compared to other developed countries. France, for example, donates 20 times as much food waste as the UK. If supermarkets were obligated to directly donate unsellable edible food, Fareshare estimates that the 13,000- 14,000 charities working on food waste could save up to £250 million. This would make food the second largest supporter of charities, after the Big Lottery!
The charitable sector & campaigns have been working hard to reduce food waste… We have been relying on the charitable and voluntary sectors to bear the brunt of food waste induced by supermarket market supply chains. They have been trying their best to redistribute edible food “waste” from the skip back to peoples’ tables, redistributing approximately 2% of the possible food that could be redistributed.
Campaigns such as Hugh’s War Against Waste, Stop the Rot etc. have also had some success in revealing the excessive waste behind the supermarket shelves and encouraging supermarkets to address their shortcomings. However, despite some promising steps from certain supermarkets to sell “less cosmetically pleasing” veg, it is clear that they need guidance and incentives to tackle the issue fully and effectively.
Now, it’s time for the government to act… The government now needs to step in and legislate and obligate supermarkets to take responsibility for the food waste in their supply chain. If supermarkets were obliged to directly donate unsellable edible food, a much larger percentage of food waste would be avoided; saving valuable time and money that is more needed elsewhere.
Tackling food waste through legislating supermarkets would have a huge positive impact across the rest of the food supply chain; reducing food dumped on farmers, helping increase available food, in particular otherwise expensive fruit and vegetables for low income families, and even for the supermarkets themselves as they will get greener credentials.
Kerry McCarthy’s Food Waste Bill will take it to the next level by:
- Requiring transparency on food wastage at all stages from production to the shelf.
- Obligating redistribution of ‘unsaleable’ food to food banks and cooperatives.
- Legislating UN targets to halve global food waste by 2030.
Keep up the pressure on your MP and keep updated here!
Please do your bit to get this Bill through its second reading by asking your MP to attend and show their support.
In one minute: to further show your support, sign the STOP THE ROT petition here: www.change.org/p/stop-the-rot-end-supply-chain-food-waste.