Page last updated at 00:50 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

'Staggering' cost of food waste

Wasted and mouldy food
Cutting food waste can benefit your pocket and the environment

The typical Scottish household throws away an average of 410 worth of food each year, it has been revealed.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said the "staggering" figure was the equivalent of 900m worth of food being thrown out across Scotland every year.

The Scottish Government is to focus on cutting down on the amount of household food that is wasted in the latest phase of its Go Greener campaign.

More than half of food waste could have been used if it was better managed.

Some 8% of discarded food was not even out of date, while 23% was still in its packaging or intact when it was discarded.

The Go Greener campaign claims that if everyone in Scotland stopped wasting food, the environmental impact would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the roads.

Around a third of what we buy ends up in the bin
Richard Lochhead
Environment Secretary

The initiative will use online, radio and outdoor advertising to get its message across.

Mr Lochhead said the campaign was a "fresh drive to raise awareness of the benefits, both to the planet and to people's pockets, of ensuring food isn't thrown away".

He added: "The figures on the financial value of how much we waste are staggering and particularly relevant with Scotland in recession and many hard pressed families feeling the pinch.

"And of course, there is an environmental cost to wasted food ending up as landfill, releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, which should not be underestimated. Around a third of what we buy ends up in the bin."

He added: "There are a number of easy ways to save food from the bin, including proper storage, thinking about portion sizes, planning meals and using leftovers to make another meal.

"We owe it to future generations and our wallets today to take action now."

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