Minister Lyons calls for crackdown on food waste

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Gordon Lyons has called for a crackdown on food waste amid revelations food makes up almost a quarter of the contents of non-recycling bins in NI.

Lending his support to the UK’s first Food Waste Action Week (March 1-7) organised by environmental charity WRAP, he urged the public to stop edible food from ending up in bins.

“When we waste food, we are also wasting a huge amount of energy and associated carbon emissions from growing, transporting, refrigerating and packing the food. Sending this waste to landfill causes even more harmful emissions,” Minister Lyons said.

“In Northern Ireland, we have successfully diverted over 1,000,000t of biodegradable waste from landfill since 2015, but we know good food is still ending up in our bins causing harm to our environment and wasting precious resources.”

The latest statistics reveal that UK households waste on average £700 a year by throwing food away.

“The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of the issue but also prompt action by providing practical guidance for people to avoid food waste and contribute to a better world for ourselves and future generations,” Minister Lyons added.

We are all guilty of wasting more than we think, but we must all play our part in making changes and protecting our environment and tackling climate change.

“My department is working closely with WRAP to develop further behaviour change campaigns and review what the future of recycling might look like in Northern Ireland.

“Both of these measures will help prevent more food waste, increase food waste recycling and keep food waste out of the wrong bins. They will also play a key part in delivering our Green Growth strategy.

“From portion control and buying the right amount, to using our leftovers and understanding ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ labels, we can all make a real difference to reduce the 4.5 million tonnes of edible food that is thrown away across the UK each year – 70% of which is wasted in our own homes.”