An action plan which aims to reduce the amount of food waste in Devon has been endorsed by the county council’s ruling Cabinet.
It follows a Food Waste Spotlight Review, commissioned by Devon County Council’s Corporate, Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee earlier this year.
Representatives from food charities, councils and anaerobic digestion plants attended the review to discuss why food is wasted, how to reduce it and ways to improve its collection.
Almost a third of all food purchased in Devon is thrown away, either by residents or businesses, every year.
Latest figures show that it’s not just residents who are wasting food – UK businesses annually waste 1.9 million tonnes. The review heard that householders were continuing to incorrectly dispose of food waste.
Almost a third of the contents in an average residual waste bin is food waste, which could be composted or recycled. The review concluded that there are several key actions could help solve some of these issues.
Firstly, clear, consistent messaging on household food waste recycling is needed to ensure residents understand what to put in the food waste bin.
Secondly, greater collaboration with food waste charities should be encouraged to improve food waste education, including in schools.
Parish and town councils should also be supported to combat food waste by making use of organisations like community fridges.
Finally, businesses should be encouraged to combat food waste. Improved online resources which lays out how reducing food waste could benefit their business, should be created.
Councillor Ian Hall, Chairman of the Food Waste Spotlight Review, said: “I want to thank the everyone who has contributed to this report, particularly the Scrutiny Team.
”A lot has been done to improve food waste in Devon, but there are areas for improvement. Clarity and consistency of message, greater collaboration with food waste charities and improved food education are all vital tools in raising awareness of a vital issue that has implications for both climate change and food poverty.
“The recommendations in this report will raise the profile of food waste prevention and disposal and help support a multi-agency approach to encourage further community schemes to bring people together over this issue.”
The full report can be viewed here.