The results are in!

Filed in Waste News by on September 23, 2010 0 Comments
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food and waste packaging has reduced according to WRAP

food and waste packaging has reduced according to WRAP

Five years ago, WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) set up the Courtauld Commitment; a voluntary agreement for finding solutions to the problems of food waste and excess packaging.

Three Targets

The Courtauld Commitment set out three targets:

  • Design out packaging waste growth.
  • Reduce food waste by 155,000 tonnes per year.
  • Reduce the total amount of packaging waste over the same period.


According to WRAP, the UK’s grocery sector has prevented 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste entering the household waste stream over the last five years; the value of which is estimated at £1.8 billion.

Trucks and aeroplanes

This amount of waste would fill 128,000 standard refuse trucks, which would stretch from Truro to Inverness. Put another way, the CO2 equivalent emissions avoided amount to around 3.3 million tonnes; the same as half a million around-the-world flights.

Total packaging waste

Due to a 6.4 per cent increase in grocery sales volumes since the agreement began and participating retailers taking a greater proportion of the market for beer and wine; the third target was not achieved. Total packaging has consistently remained at approximately 2.9 million tonnes between 2006 and 2009.

Concentrated products

However, across the range of groceries we buy, packaging has reduced by around 4% for each product. This is through using concentrated products and new lightweight packaging.

Examples of food and packaging waste reductions can be found with the wrap report.

Collaborative approach

Liz Goodwin, CEO at WRAP, said “Bringing together major players, including all the big supermarkets, and drawing on our combined expertise, is really helping householders put less packaging and food waste in their bins.”

Food waste

WRAP are particularly pleased with the food waste reduction which is way beyond their original target.

Working together for change

One of the things we keep saying on myzerowaste is that we need to ditch the ‘us and them’ approach. It’s time for us all to work together, because if we do, we can achieve great things as this fantastic achievement shows.

World without waste

WRAPs vision is a world without waste where resources are used sustainably. When we do our presentations we remind people that rubbish is simply a resource in the wrong place. Many of you get frustrated with the amount of packaging you buy and have to dispose of; Which goes to show we all share the same common goal!

The next phase of the Courtauld Commitment looks further into food and packaging waste from manufacture to households. Sounds like a job for Mrs Green!

To see WRAP director of Design and Resource minimisation, Richard Swannell, give an overview of the Courtauld Commitment, click on the video below.


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.

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