Scotland wastes '26 million burgers' every year

Josh Barrie@JoshBythesea
Sunday 20 March 2016 18:00
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Paul J Richards/Getty

On Sunday, BBC Scotland tweeted this quite alarming image of 25 nibbled burgers.

The image is evocative not just because it makes you hungry for beefy goodness, but because it fronts a much more serious topic of discussion: food waste.

The 25 burgers, each with an ample bite taken out of them, are there to represent the '26 million beefburgers' thrown away each year by Scottish households.

Zero Waste Scotland said the total value of meat and fish wasted annually in the country is around £190 million. The figure comes amid a wider debate about food waste across Britain, and around the world.

Major UK supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury's have all pledged to reduce food and drink waste by a fifth in the next decade. In other European countries, laws have been brought in to limit what's thrown away, with some nations such as Italy and France introducing initiatives to see uneaten food donated to charities.

In this particular burger-based story, Scotland is scrutinised for its part in what is clearly a pressing issue.

Sustainable economy group WRAP said its research casts light on the need to help eradicate wastage.

2,900 tonnes of beef alone discarded annually

22,000 tonnes of beef, lamb, poultry and pork thrown away each year, worth £140m

£5m worth of food wasted because it is not used in time

Food waste campaign manager for Zero Waste Scotland, Ylva Haglund, told BBC Scotland: "Our research has shown that despite our love of beef in Scotland, we still throw away millions of pounds worth every year, with an equivalent weight to 26 million burgers, or the weight of 13 million steaks."

There's no doubt the excess enjoyed by some could be stemmed; the surplus food and drink that goes unconsumed better dealt with.

Scotland is often in the culinary spotlight for its relationship with the kitchen. Last year, a report suggested that the obesity problem there is so severe being overweight had become the 'norm'.

The Scottish government announced this month plans to reduce food waste by 33 per cent.

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