A group of campaigners and businesses have urged the government to rethink plans to delay food waste laws aimed at cutting food inflation and tackling climate change.
Earlier this month Defra announced it was pushing back mandatory food waste reporting until 2026 at the earliest, citing pressure on business from the current cost crisis.
A change.org petition launched last week by Feedback calling for the policy to be reinstated had gained almost 5,000 signatures at the time of reporting. A statement in support of the policy was also launched this week from 27 organisations, including Greenpeace, Sustainable Restaurant Association, Nature Friendly Farming Network, Sustain and Wildlife and Countryside Link, as well as public figures including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Both the petition and statement are part of the newly launched ‘Make Food Waste Count’ campaign calling on the government to reconsider its decision, and introduce mandatory food waste reporting for all medium and large food businesses by 2024, including primary production, manufacturing, retail and foodservice.
New research by Feedback found that if mandatory food waste reporting in England led to just a 1% reduction in food waste in large and medium sized food businesses, this would result in net savings to food businesses of an estimated £24.4 million per year.
Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “While people are going hungry from soaring food inflation and we face climate crisis, it’s a scandal that the government is throwing away the nation’s food, by scrapping this vital food waste law. This policy is an absolute no-brainer – popular with both the public and businesses, saving food, reducing emissions, and helping reduce food inflation to address the cost-of-living crisis. The government must urgently reconsider scrapping mandatory food waste reporting, so that food waste gets counted, and good food, precious energy, and people’s money, gets saved.”