Hilary Benn’s ‘War against Waste’

Filed in Waste News by on June 9, 2009 7 Comments
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Hilary Benn's War on Waste campaign

Hilary Benn's War on Waste campaign

Today, Food and farming secretary, Hilary Benn, launches his ‘war on Waste’. In the campaign the confusion over use by, sell by and best before dates will be laid to rest and food packaging will be addressed.

As you might have guessed, we at Zero waste towers are going to be interested to see what comes of the campaign.

Here’s the scoop…

“The sell-by and best-before dates on almost all fresh produce and thousands of other food items are to be scrapped to prevent waste.

Thousands of tons of perfectly good food is binned annually because critics claim the labelling system is misleading.

Ministers say products should only have a ‘use-before’ date because it is the only way of giving consumers a safety cut-off point.

Stores will also be encouraged to stop offering jumbo packs and buy-one-get-one-free deals that encourage customers to buy in bulk, only to discard any surplus.

The Government claims that as much as 364,000 tons of edible food is misguidedly thrown away each year after passing its best before date, and a further 39,400 tons is dumped without even being opened by consumers.

Sell-by dates help retailers with stock management, while the best-before date lets a customer know the optimum time to eat a piece of fruit or crack an egg.

Only the use-by deadline shows that a product may cause harm if eaten at a later date.

The waste reduction body Wrap says 1.3million unopened yoghurt pots are dumped every day, along with 440,000 ready meals, 5,500 chickens and 5.1million potatoes.

It claims the value of unused dumped food is £6billion a year, £1billion of which covers items still within their use-by date.

Read the rest of the article by Sean Poulter at the Daily Mail.

Read more about the War on Waste campaign on GMTV
Let’s Recycle
Sky News

We’d love to know what you think. What changes would you like to see in the ‘War against waste’?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    LetsRecycle covered this yesterday and I think it will help consumers who use supermarkets. Throwing away good food is unacceptable and is yet another aspect of the throwaway society. The government is finally getting to grips with things and the new AD proposals, also on LetsRecycle, should help the process toward countrywide food waste collections.

  2. I read this somewhere the other day and thought “at last common sense is going to prevail”!! 🙂

  3. Layla says:

    Oops, so Hilary Benn is not ‘minister for environment’ (as I had thought!!) he is ‘Food and farming secretary’ – interesting!!

    hmm, maybe we see where to direct efforts here in Slovenia too..?? 😉

  4. Layla says:

    Oh & of course – as said elsewhere – I totally applaud his efforts!!

    wish our politicians had the same common sense to go for more sustainable options!!
    & more refillable options everywhere in the world, please!! 🙂

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, I’m definitely heartened by these ideas. It will be interesting to see what actually comes into wide-spread use.

    @maisie dalziel: Yes Maisie! It’s not exactly rocket science is it!

    @Layla: These changes might spread, Layla; we’ll jusy have to see. At the moment these are only ideas – nothing has happened yet …

  6. Eliza Day says:

    Hi I’m a year 9 student from Sacre Coeur and am currently doing a news project on wasting food. I would love to bear what you think about this topic and what will happen in the future if this issue continues. Also what can be done to prevent this.
    Thank you for your time,
    Eliza Day

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hi Eliza
      If you have some specific questions, feel free to use the contact form to send them to me. Good luck with your news project!

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