The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), UK has launched the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment voluntary agreement, which is aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing the carbon and environmental impact of the grocery sector.
As part of the phase, 45 major grocery brands and retailers - including Sainsbury's, Coca-Cola and Unilever - have pledged to reduce packaging waste by 1.1 million tonnes by 2015.
The targets set in the new phase include improvement in packaging design through the supply chain, improvement in recyclability and delivering product protection to reduce food waste, while making sure there is no increase in the carbon impact of packaging.
The initiative also requires reduction in traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3%.
According to WRAP, the targets are expected to deliver £1.6bn savings to consumers, the food and drink sector, retailers and local authorities, which in turn would help improve the competitiveness and sturdiness of the supply chain.
The savings will also help in reducing the impact on the environment considerably.
Signatories are required to help consumers reduce waste in the home, which may include delivering targeted food waste reduction initiatives, for instance clearer product labelling and improved packaging design, with the 'Love Food Hate Waste' campaign.
Under Courtauld phase one and the first two years of Courtauld phase two, achievements were made on optimising grocery packaging, representing use of around 1t less packaging.
The latest initiative focuses on optimising packaging to reducing food waste and improving recyclability to help consumers and local authorities.
The target is also set to help achieve the UK Government's ambitious new packaging recycling targets for 2013 - 2017.
WRAP CEO Dr Liz Goodwin said, "Over the course of the three phases of the agreement, a 20% reduction in UK household food waste is achievable, a deeply impressive outcome."
The voluntary agreement, which runs for a period of three years from 2013 to 2015 with targets measured against a 2012 baseline, is funded by Westminster and Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments, and delivered by WRAP.
Image: WRAP CEO Dr Liz Goodwin; Photo: Courtesy of WRAP