Food Waste

Food waste facts and figures

We’ve rounded up some food waste facts and statistics to put into perspective the scale of the problem and show how recycling food waste can really make a difference.

How much food is wasted?

As well as costing the planet, the price of wasting food can hit your pockets too! 

  • Avoidable food and drink waste costs Scottish households nearly £1.1billion in unnecessary purchases each year.
  • Scottish households throw away 600,000 tonnes of food waste every year.
  • By reducing food waste, each Scottish household could save up to £437 per year.

Which foods are wasted the most?

In Scotland, the top 5 commonly wasted food and drink types each year by weight are:

  1. Milk (31,000 tonnes)
  2. Bread (25,000 tonnes)
  3. Carbonated drinks (23,000 tonnes)
  4. Potatoes (19,000 tonnes)
  5. Ready meals (14,000 tonnes)
  • Fresh fruit – We throw away £70 million-worth of fresh fruit every year. That’s equivalent to one apple per day for every schoolchild and teacher in Scotland for 18 months.
  • Fresh vegetables – We waste 62,000 tonnes of vegetables every year. That’s an average of 26kg a year for every household in Scotland - the equivalent of a whole weekly shop.
  • Drinks – Scottish households throw away an estimated 70 million litres of drinks every year. That would fill 175,000 bathtubs, right to the brim!
  • Meat and fish – Scotland’s households throw away £130 million-worth of meat and fish waste every year. That’s enough to make every person in Scotland a bacon butty every Saturday for the next year!
  • Baked goods – Every day in Scotland we throw away the equivalent of 2.6 million slices of bread. These could easily be frozen instead!
  • Dairy – Every year, Scotland’s households throw away £93 million-worth of dairy waste. That's enough for everyone in Scotland to have milk on their cereal for the next six months.

Recycling food waste facts...

In Scotland, we use a process called anaerobic digestion to transform food waste into green energy. Here’s what your recycled food waste could do...

  • Your weekly food waste can power nearly two whole cycles of your washing machine.
  • A caddy full of food waste could generate enough electricity to power a fridge for 18 hours.*
  • Your weekly food waste could power your TV enough to watch more than 35 episodes of Game of Thrones!
  • 5 caddies full of food waste could power a cinema screen long enough to watch the latest blockbuster.*
  • Your weekly food waste caddy can power an average house for 2 hours.
  • Just 1 banana peel generates enough energy to charge your phone twice!

*Source – Recycle for Wales