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The sector wide UK voluntary agreement is launched today by WRAP, on behalf of UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments. The agreement aims to cut food and associated packaging waste by 5% (a CO2e reduction of 234,000 tonnes), the equivalent of approximately 100 million meals. It also aims to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste that is being recycled, sent to AD or composted to 70% (a CO2e reduction of 336,000 tonnes).
Signatories can together expect to achieve great cost savings. Indeed, if just 25% of the sector were to sign up, they can save up to £761 million by the end of 20152, and reduce their CO2 (e) impact by 570,000 tonnes.
The voluntary agreement, which was developed with industry and UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments, builds on WRAP’s research, and work already being undertaken by the sector to tackle waste. It also delivers on all four governments’ commitment to tackle waste and carbon.
Government support from the UK nations for the voluntary agreement has also been wide scale with fourteen UK government departments, Scottish, and Welsh governments all signing up to the agreement to encourage their own caterers to cut waste.
Organisations that opt to sign up to the agreement either join as signatories or supporters, depending on their role within the sector, with signatories reporting directly against the two main targets. Of the 73 organisations signed up to the agreement, 28 are signatories and 45 are supporters.
The voluntary agreement has grouped business signatories into ‘Large businesses’, ‘Smaller businesses’. In general a business signatory is an organisation who produces and serves their customer a meal/snack. A supporter is an organisation who works within the sector but is not delivering that meal/snack directly to a customer. For example a business which has catering which is contracted out, packaging manufacturers, food and drink manufacturers, and trade associations.
WRAP will work across the sector and accelerate the good practice that is already going on through collaborative working and behaviour change. WRAP will provide businesses with support to equip them to make these changes happen through online tools, workshops, working groups and expert advice.
The agreement will be overseen by a Steering Group, which will include signatories and supporters. The group will have responsibility for providing input to voluntary agreement strategy, reviewing progress on delivery against the targets, and sharing good practice.
Mark Linehan, Managing Director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association said:
This agreement is a great step forward in the battle to reduce food waste in the hospitality sector – a sector that is beginning to meet this considerable challenge. We would urge all operators to embrace this opportunity to reduce their environmental impact, save money and respond to public demand. The SRA particularly welcomes the emphasis on waste prevention. Producing less waste saves operators money and time spent managing the waste.
This article was kindly provided by WRAP.