Retail collaboration on target for waste cut

12 December 2011

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12 December 2011 | Angeline Albert

Collaboration between retailers and their suppliers contributed to a 260,000 tonne reduction in the amount of food and drink waste in the UK in 2010.

Under phase two of the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the grocery sector, there is a target to cut waste by 4 per cent by 2012.

According to the Phase 2 First Year Progress Report, published last week by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the 260,000 tonnes represents a 3 per cent reduction. The results from 2011 have not yet been calculated.

The first phase of the government-backed Courtauld Commitment looked at reducing household food, drink and packaging waste between 2005-10. During this period, the signatories cut 3.3 million tonnes of CO2.

A total of 53 UK grocery retailers, brands and suppliers, including Morrisons and Sainsbury's, signed up to phase two of the agreement, which runs between 2010 and 2012.

Collaboration between Morrisons and Kerry-Noon Ready Meals has reduced product waste at the point of manufacture by 33 per cent. The retailer increased its forecast accuracy by 6 per cent and has cut packaging on some products by 20 per cent, by redesigning ready meal packaging and products.

At Heinz, efficiencies were made by using bulk holding tanks instead of polythene bags to direct feed sauce to filling machines. This move has cut the number of bags used per year by 3,000 and cut 40 tonnes of waste. It has also resulted in less product waste and provided extra storage space as fewer transport containers are needed.

Phase two also aims is to reduce the carbon impact of grocery packaging by 10 per cent. So far, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 5.1 per cent, which is equal to 295,000 tonnes of CO2.

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