Holidays see £12m food mountain binned in UK in a single week

A massive food mountain worth £12 million is thrown in the bin across the UK in a single week as families head off on summer holidays, according to new research.

Families about to go on holiday are about to waste £12m of food, a report says.  Picture: Contributed
Families about to go on holiday are about to waste £12m of food, a report says. Picture: Contributed

The figure is as mush as £1m in Scotland alone.

The survey, carried out for the environmental charity Hubbub and food and homecare company Unilever, has revealed that three out of five Britons are guilty of throwing away perfectly edible food before they go away.

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More than £500m worth of usable produce is chucked out each year throughout the country, £51m of it in Scotland, as folk set out on their travels.

Milk, salad, fruit, yoghurt and bread topped the list of foodstuffs most likely to be ditched ahead of a trip.

Now anti-waste campaigners are calling for folk to freeze food or give it away instead of disposing of it.

Only 13 per cent of people in the UK currently pass on the contents of their fridge before going away.

The figure is higher north of the border, at 20 per cent.

However, more than a quarter of those surveyed admitted the idea had never crossed their minds – despite 81 per cent saying they would be happy to receive food from friends or neighbours.

Ylva Haglund, campaign manager for the charity Zero Waste Scotland, said: “These new figures show that over the summer season we’re needlessly throwing away a particularly alarming amount of food as many of us head off on long weekends and holidays.

“This is not only bad news for our pockets, but also for the environment, with food waste contributing significantly to our climate change emissions.

“With so much to organise it can be easy to forget about the food in your fridge and cupboards, but the good news is that with a little bit of planning you can rescue this food from the bin, saving money and helping to protect the environment in doing so.”

Helen White, from the independent sustainability campaign group Wrap, said the study had provided “fascinating new insights”.

He said: ”What particularly struck me was the widespread willingness of people to receive food from their neighbours,”

Hubbub chief executive Trewin Restorick said: “We need to value our food more – to consider the energy and resources used to produce and transport food and do everything we can to avoid putting it in the bin.”