Media Release: Scotland the top banana in food waste stakes

SCOTS admit to throwing away £460 of food every year – compared to just over £400 across the UK – according to a new survey by Waitrose.

Says a spokesperson: “And a higher proportion of Scots say they throw away milk and bananas each week than anywhere else in the UK.

“Nearly nine in ten (86 per cent) of Scots say that they throw food away at least a couple of times a week.

“Only one in three (34 per cent) say that they recycle food waste.

“The majority say they don’t recycle food waste because they don’t have the right facilities (67 per cent).

“Forty-five per cent say that they always recycle packaging, the lowest proportion in the UK.”

Waitrose announced the results of the survey to raise awareness of HRH The Prince of Wales’ new Start initiative aimed at encouraging people to live a more sustainable way of life.

Start’s UK launch takes place in Glasgow on Monday (6 September).

Top ‘bin sins’ included bread, which a staggering six in ten Scots throw away each week, bananas which nearly four in ten people bin (36 per cent) and bagged salads which one in three (33 per cent) leave in the fridge uneaten and then discard.

However, Scots are becoming waste savvy with two in three packing up any leftovers for another day.

And more than 92 per cent of Scots reuse shopping bags rather than throwing them away.

Across the UK, those over 35 years of age take waste more seriously with fewer older people throwing away food.

Quentin Clark, head of Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing for Waitrose said: Food waste is bad news for the environment and for household budgets. In common with people right across the UK, many Scots feel guilty for wasting food and nearly three quarters (70 per cent) have considered buying less food, so it’s clear that we all know that we need to act.

“Though food waste recycling facilities vary across the country, there are some really simple tips that can help reduce waste – and save on food bills.”

Waitrose is an official partner of The Prince of Wales’ new Start initiative, which aims to show how being more eco-friendly involves simple lifestyle changes.

Waitrose is taking part in the Start national tour which culminates in ‘A Garden Party to Make a Difference’ in London from 8th – 19th September, where members of the public can access information on being more eco-friendly.

Waitrose will be giving advice on how food can be produced, bought, transported, stored, cooked and disposed of in a more environmentally friendly way through events, incentives and advice. For more information visit


How to cut back on bin sins and lead a more sustainable life (while saving money too):

1. Plan meals in advance and make shopping lists before heading out to the supermarket. This will save time and money as well as reduce waste.

2. Reuse carrier bags or remember to take a bag for life to the shops with you.

3. If it looks like you made too much for dinner, then just freeze it. Or why not plan in advance and make a bit extra to freeze for a quick meal.

4. Recycle food packaging. Think of creative ideas for reusing packaging.

5. Embrace leftovers. Enjoy them for lunch the next day.

6. Convert food waste into compost instead of throwing food in the bin.

Waitrose has a range of initiatives to ensure food waste is reused and minimised. As the first national retailer to use anaerobic digestion to dispose of food waste, Waitrose has saved more than 440 tonnes of food waste from landfill, as well as generating enough green electricity to power two stores for ten days.

It also works with a community food-network, Fareshare, that distributes manufacturers’ and retailers’ surplus edible food to over 29,000 vulnerable people each day, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 13,950 tonnes in 2009.


For more information contact Giselle Dye on 07739 085023 or Shaheena Abbas on 0131 556 0770.

Notes to editors:

  2. Survey carried out by OnePoll during September 2010 with 3004 people across the UK including 206 in Scotland.
  3. Top Ten Scottish Sin Bin Sins
Item Percentage who throw away each week
Bread 59.71
Bananas 36.41
Bagged Salads 32.52
Cold Meats 23.79
Milk 21.84
Lettuce 17.96
Apples 17.96
Cucumber 15.53
Yoghurt 14.56
Grapes 14.56

Waitrose has 228 stores across the UK, with three in Scotland: Byres Road in Glasgow and Comely Bank and Morningside in Edinburgh. It is due to open a new store in Newton Mearns in early 2011.

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Contact: GiselleDye
Phone: 07739085023