Minister Lyons calls for crackdown on food waste

Date published: 01 March 2021


Environment Minister Gordon Lyons has called for a crackdown on food waste as it’s estimated that in Northern Ireland it accounts for up to 25% of the content of our non-recycling bins.

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

“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 1,000,000 tonnes 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,” he added.

The latest statistics reveal that UK households waste on average £700 per 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. 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,” Minister Lyons added.

“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.”

Minister Lyons encouraged everyone to get involved in the week-long campaign and said he would be playing his part.

“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.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Download more information on Food Waste Action Week.
  2. In 2020/21 the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs provided £700,000 funding for WRAPNI.
  3. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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