Further to the Hubbub Lunch Waste Report, published this week, the FPA is repeating its call for a UK-wide ‘on the go’ waste management system.

Executive Director Martin Kersh said:  “The proposal for an UK Extended Producer Responsibility system to be funded by business must include provision for a UK-wide waste management system for all consumption on the go. The recent Hubbub report on waste arising from the on the go lunch trade reinforces the need for a huge step up in infrastructure to help UK citizens dispose of waste so that much more is recycled, be that at home or away from home (where so much more consumption is taking place).

“When the UK’s domestic kerbside waste management system was established we consumed very little on the go.  While this thriving sector has grown and developed our facilities for on the go waste management have barely changed. Defra’s Collections Consistency and Extended Producer Responsibility consultations should become the springboard for creating an UK-wide on the go waste management system consistent with that at home. Wherever we live, work and play the public should have consistency in how it disposes of packaging and food.

“Hubbub’s report recommends the public use their own containers when buying their lunch time sandwiches, salads and hot meals. Some may choose to do this, but if undertaken on a large scale there will be serious negative implications for food waste, hygiene and logistics. Whilst bring your own or make your own will work for some people, the simple fact is that 21st century life is time poor and we must design infrastructure to reflect this. It is simply untenable for supermarkets to provide food to go unwrapped or in the consumer’s own containers for reasons of logistics, cross contamination and food waste – everyone knows an unwrapped sandwich soon becomes curly and dry.   Increasing the amount of damaged and unfit to eat food would exert a far greater negative environmental impact than the savings made and would and reverse the progress made by the hospitality sector to reduce food waste.

“The foodservice industry is being asked to provide more information on allergies and calories for which labelling is so crucial and imagine the queues in a busy supermarket or takeaway if the server had to change gloves after each service to eliminate the risk of allergy cross contamination rather than buyers picking up a pack on shelf for which the label provides full information.

Hubbub’s success with its excellent Leeds By Example campaign, partly funded by retailers selling takeaway lunch items, proves perfectly why the UK’s on the go waste management infrastructure needs to be addressed and the benefits this achieves. The FPA has for many years campaigned for an UK wide, consistent system which would incorporate much of Hubbub’s thinking. Perhaps at long last we will have the resources and will to make it happen.

Ends                                                                                                                                                            May 2019