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Courtauld results show packaging down and food redistribution up

26 January 2015

The first year results of the Courtauld Commitment Phase 3, released today by WRAP, show an approximate 4.5% reduction of the carbon impacts of packaging, while food waste prevention efforts have led to 80% more food being redistributed.

Signatories’ efforts to reduce packaging, increase recycled content and use different packaging materials has contributed to a significant reduction in the carbon impact of packaging, which is down by around 4.5%, well ahead of the 2015 target of zero increase. 

While there has been little change in the overall manufacturing and retail waste against a 3% reduction target, signatories report an increase in recycling and recovery, with less material going to sewer or for disposal. Signatories have also reported a substantial increase in the volumes of unsold food redistributed for human consumption; almost doubling from 21kt to 38kt.

To ensure the target is met, a concerted effort by signatories is required to focus their activities on the implementation of more waste prevention and resource efficiency measures.  WRAP will be working with signatories to help them target their activity to achieve the most effective results. One aspect of this is the sharing of good practice.  WRAP has today published a series of case studies illustrating some of the changes introduced by signatories. 

Progress against the household food waste target is not collected yearly but will be available for final year reporting.

Dr. Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP said: “I am delighted that progress on the packaging target has exceeded expectations and redistribution has increased significantly. There is still much to do before the end of this third phase though, with the biggest challenge being the manufacturing and retail target.  We will be working closely with signatories to help ensure all the targets are met.”

Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: “Everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste and we are determined to support food retailers and industry in their efforts to improve products, packaging and guidance which can help consumers to save money and avoid waste. Where appropriate surplus food should be re-used for human consumption and this report shows an impressive 80% increase in the amount we’re redistributing. Making the best possible use of our resources is vital and while there is still work to be done I congratulate everyone signed-up to the Courtauld Commitment for their efforts this year.”

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Richard Lochhead said: “The Scottish Government is committed to helping businesses cut waste and increase recycling. Our innovative Resource Efficient Scotland service works closely with Courtauld signatories to help achieve this.  I welcome the progress the grocery sector is making on reducing the impact of packaging and food waste. I look forward to seeing the final results of this programme.”

Welsh Government Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said: “The Welsh Government is committed to preventing food waste going to landfill, and this forms part of our Environment Bill proposals.  There is much work to be done, but I’m encouraged at the progress that Courtauld signatories have made in making the most of surplus food.  Food waste has environmental, social and financial impacts associated with its production, and more and more businesses are recognising the importance of this.” 

DOE Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “I welcome the action that the grocery businesses are taking to reduce food waste and increase recycling. This will help to divert waste from landfill and is very much in line with the forthcoming Food Waste Regulations. I commend these businesses for taking this initiative which will deliver significant improvements to resource efficiency in the North.”

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