The impact of food waste collections on household food waste arisings

24th January 2020

WRAP regularly calculates the amount of food waste produced in the UK and identifies any factors that might increase it. This report looks at household food waste collections by local authorities to try and determine whether targeted collection schemes can reduce food waste arisings.

Separate food waste collection schemes are significantly associated with lower total food waste arisings amongst householders
Future studies are recommended to secure a more definitive conclusion

This report examines the relationship between food waste collections and food waste arisings. 

Food waste arisings were compared among local authorities with and without a separate food waste collection, whilst controlling for other factors that are also known to affect food waste arisings (and which might otherwise mask or exaggerate the effect of food waste scheme type). The study covered a five-year period from 2012/2013 to 2016/2017 and included data from 107 local authorities, covering three nations (England, Scotland and Wales).

After taking into account social deprivation, time, and other factors previously reported to influence household food waste arisings, separate food waste collections were significantly associated with lower total food waste arisings. These results should be treated with caution because the size of the effect cannot be quantified with a high degree of certainty (the true difference could be between 2.3 kg/hh/yr and 29.8 kg/hh/yr food waste, with 95% confidence).

The report recommends that further research would be beneficial in order to secure a more definitive conclusion. The significance of food waste collection type in this study suggests that future work should continue to use narrow criteria to avoid noise in the data, whilst increasing the size of the data set by adding new data for future years.