Sunday 17 February 2019

It's a load of rubbish as one-third of food binned

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

UP to a third of all food is thrown in the bin without being eaten, according to a new survey.

A UK study shows that almost 20pc of all household waste is made up of food and, if applied to Ireland, it means that 337,000 tonnes of food waste is generated each year.

Half of this food could have been eaten, said Andrew Hetherington, the chief executive of recycling organisation Repak.

On the eve of Repak Recycling Week, Mr Hetherington pointed out that most of this ended up in landfill where it produced methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

"Retailers are bringing in food out of season because we want it. One-third of food we buy is thrown out, including the packaging. We need to change that attitude," he said.

Changing

"Assuming all of this is organic food waste, this equates to 60pc of organic household waste. In 2006, we only recycled 39,305 tonnes or 7.3pc of this waste.

"It's the changing lifestyles we have. People would go shopping three or four times a week, now we go once a week and people pack the freezer."

It is estimated that 20pc of our climate change emissions are related to the production, processing, transportation and storage of food waste.

A wide-ranging review of Ireland's waste policy must promote bio-waste collections, whether by charging more to dispose of it or by offering incentives to treat it.

A Repak survey also shows that half of householders only recycle from the kitchen and choose to ignore other parts of the household.

One in three people do not recycle shampoo and detergent bottles, with bathrooms and bedrooms ignored when householders try to improve their green credentials.

Thousands of tonnes of household waste are needlessly landfilled every year because of "misconceptions" about what can be reused.

The survey shows that while almost 90pc of the population regularly throw kitchen items into the green bin, only 45pc recycle from the bathroom, 43pc from the bedroom with just one in four recycling from the home office or study.

The survey also found that people who rent property are less likely to recycle than those who own their own homes.

The average renter claimed a 42pc recycling rate compared with 53pc for home owners.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News