Tesco Plc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda unit, J Sainsbury Plc and 39 more retailers and foodmakers reduced U.K. food and packaging waste by 1.2 million tons in 2005 to 2009, a government-funded trash-reduction group said.
About 670,000 tons of food waste and 520,000 tons of packaging, worth a combined 1.8 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) were eliminated in the five years, equivalent to 128,000 refuse-truckloads, the Waste Resources & Action Programme said today in an e-mailed statement. About 3.3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions were avoided in the process, WRAP said.
“The evidence shows that more people are now aware that food waste is an issue,” WRAP Chief Executive Officer Liz Goodwin said. “More people are checking their cupboards before they shop, making lists and date labels are better understood.”
Lowering waste in the U.K. helps cut greenhouse gases and reduces the area of landfill needed to contain trash. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer Group Plc, Co-operative Group Ltd. and Waitrose Ltd. have also pledged to cut plastic bag use in half, following a campaign that began in May 2007 when the retailers in Modbury, southwest England, banned the carriers.
Measures to reduce waste include reductions in the weight of bottles made by Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., Coca-Cola Co.’s largest distributor, cuts in cardboard and plastic used to wrap Easter eggs by Kraft Foods Inc.’s Cadbury unit, and a change in the plastic used by H.J. Heinz Co. in making ketchup bottles, according to WRAP’s website.
Food waste was cut at an annual rate of 270,000 tons in March this year, beating the group’s 155,000-ton target. A goal to get rid of packaging waste growth by 2008 was also met.
The companies missed a target of delivering absolute annual reductions in packaging waste in 2010, with the annual total remaining at about 2.9 million tons, WRAP said. That’s because while average packaging per item declined, total grocery sales increased by 6.4 percent, according to the statement.