UK households throwing away £2.5bn worth of veg every year

UK households throw away £2.5bn (281,000 tonnes) of edible vegetables every year, research has found.

Bosch VitaFresh asked 2000 people across the country their shopping habits and found that whilst vegan and vegetable-heavy diets are growing in popularity in the UK, over 17% of the veg Brits are buying each week still ends up in the bin.

Londoners prove to be the worst waste culprits with 59.5% of residents admitting to throwing away vegetables, which is estimated to total £445m each year – 55% more than people living in East Anglia.

Londoners were also the worst for buying too much and throwing the surplus away, replacing veg that is still edible and throwing veg out because they can’t think what to do with it in the kitchen.

Over 76.4% of Brits said veg going off was the number one reason they threw it away. The second most popular reason was buying too much, with over 1 in 5 UK households saying they found themselves with too much veg at home to know what to do with.

According to the research, the over-55s are the most economical with their purchases, spending the least (£9.68), wasting the least (£4.82), and disposing of just 119g of vegetables each week, 79g less than the national average.

Comparatively, generation Z (18 – 24-year olds) throw away £10.70 each week – more than the over 55s spend.

During his time as Environment Secretary, Michael Gove has made the issue of reducing food waste one of his key objectives.

He made a speech last month at the V+A Museum and said: ‘Food waste is both a way of showing that we respect the earth and its limits, and it is also, by taking it seriously, a way of showing that we respect our fellow human beings and their potential.’

In January he appointed philanthropist Ben Elliot as the government’s new food surplus and waste champion to help cut the amount of food being sent to landfill.

The appointment is part of the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, which was launched in December and aims to eliminate food waste to landfill by 2030.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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