General, Waste

Families bin £50 worth of food each month – that’s one in five shopping bags

Download this picture here. Love Food Surrey

Hard-pressed families are wasting around £50 a month by throwing out food that can still be eaten – the equivalent of binning one in every five shopping bags.

National figures show* people in the UK spend £12 billion a year throwing away perfectly good food and in Surrey alone it costs the county council £7.6 million annually to dispose of food waste.

Vegetables, salad, fruit and drink are some of Britain’s most wasted foods with 83,000 tonnes of bananas alone needlessly binned each year.

The startling figures are being used as part of the Love Food Surrey campaign which aims to persuade people to shop smarter and waste less.

Ian Lake, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “It’s shocking to learn one in every five bags of food shopping is wasted. I’m sure families would jump at the chance to have an extra £50 in their pockets during these difficult economic times. By making a few simple changes you can save money and also benefit the environment.

“Through our Love Food Surrey campaign we’ll be helping people waste less food by giving them recipe ideas for leftovers, showing them how than can shop smarter and helping people find out how they can store food for longer.”

A survey by Surrey County Council revealed people have eyes bigger than their bellies as almost half of those asked (47%) thought cooking overly large portions is a big reason why so much food is wasted.

And 38% of people thought buying too much food at the supermarket leads to good food being thrown away, with just 9% of people admitting they find it easy to resist a buy one get one free offer.

Reducing the amount of food people throw in the bin is also good for the environment. It’s estimated that if the UK stopped wasting food altogether, the impact on carbon dioxide emissions would be the same as taking a quarter of all cars off the road.


For more information, journalists can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at

Notes to editors

* National figures from Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK research carried out by WRAP.

For hints and tips on cutting down food waste and more information on the Love Food Surrey campaign, visit

Cutting food waste also has the potential to save millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in reduced landfill costs. Sending all types of rubbish to landfill costs the county council £600,000 a month in taxes alone.

Love Food Surrey is a campaign run by Surrey Waste Partnership which is made up of Surrey County Council and the 11 district and borough councils in the county.


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