According to new research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), the country wastes 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink every year.
Broken down, households were found to be responsible for 600,000 tonnes of waste, while businesses generated around 740,000 tonnes.
According to ZWS the food would be able to fill up to 17 million wheelie bins and believes that about 60 per cent of the figure is totally avoidable.
In response the country aims to produce around 460,000 tonnes of food and drink waste by 2025, while still accounting for population growth and other factors.
Although the findings are grave, the charity noted that by looking at updated figures from 2009 to 2014, there has been a 5.7 per cent reduction in household waste — resulting in household budget savings of £92 million.
ZWS chief executive Iain Gulland said:
While household food waste remains the biggest sector, the fact that more than half comes from business and public sector shows that we need clear leadership in these areas to make the transformative change we all want to see.
“We have made a good start. Since putting the issue of food waste on the map, we have worked to reduce household food waste, resulting in a 6% decrease. We are also providing small and medium-sized businesses with dedicated advice and support to reduce their food waste and related costs.”
“We look forward to working further with the Scottish Government and partners to develop additional priorities for action that will continue to influence behaviour, so that wasting food, at any level, is socially unacceptable.”
Food and drink production is believed to account for one-fifth of Scotland’s carbon footprint.
Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform said:
The amount of food wasted in Scotland is staggering, which is why the Scottish Government has set a target to reduce food waste by 33 per cent by 2025, one of the most ambitious targets of its kind.
“This research from Zero Waste Scotland, together with the work that we are doing to measure food that doesn’t make it off the farm, will set the baseline against which we will measure our target.
“We will now collaborate with organisations from all sections of the supply chain to develop options for policy interventions to meet our target.”
The publication of the figures coincides with the European Week for Waste Reduction, a Europe-wide initiative to raise awareness and promote action for waste management.
It shall run from 19 November to 27 November.