UK Supermarkets Slash Waste by 8.2% in 3 Years

producerjacob/CC BY 2.0

From auditing the value of Britain's unused clothing to highlighting the astounding impact of food waste, UK-based charity WRAP has taken a broad-based, ambitious approach to slashing the nation's waste and encouraging recycling and reuse.

But Business Green reports that, until recently, WRAP's work with supermarkets was being drawn into question, with figures released in 2010 suggesting that British supermarkets had only reduced supply chain waste by 1.2%—leaving them unlikely to hit a voluntary target of 5% by 2012.

But what a difference a few years makes. In fact, figures released today show supermarkets that signed up to the targets have slashed waste from products and packaging by 8.2% between 2009 and 2011. Here's Business Green again:

Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability for the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said the figures were evidence that voluntary commitments can be an effective way of driving up sustainability standards.
"It is an excellent example of the results that can be achieved through voluntary agreements, where government and industry work together to deliver a common set of aims," he said.

As noted in my post about system innovation, the real story here is not about individual companies making progress on waste reduction. It's the fact that a large group of big players stood up and raised the bar together—no doubt creating changes throughout their supply chains that will reduce waste for everyone—even companies that have not signed up for such ambitious goals.

Good job WRAP.

Tags: Recycling | United Kingdom | Waste | Zero Waste

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