UK food manufacturing firms have significantly reduced the amount of packaging waste they send to landfill sites over the past few years, newly released figures show.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) published its latest waste report earlier this week, highlighting advances that businesses made with regard to the recycling of both food and packaging during 2012.
Figures were compiled in association with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which is supported by government funding and aims to help companies use their resources sustainably.
It was found that during 2012, food factories prevented 250,000 tonnes of waste from being taken to landfill, by reusing it for animal feed and other purposes.
Alongside this, recycling increased for food packaging, with 96 per cent being used again, while 28 per cent of general waste was also reused, meaning just three per cent of the sector's rubbish was sent to landfill throughout the year.
This is significant progress for the industry, as in 2006 16.5 per cent of waste was taken to landfill sites, while 12.5 per cent and nine per cent was discarded in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
However, recently, the FDF has been campaigning for food manufacturers to stop sending waste to landfill sites altogether, a target that it hopes to achieve by next year as part of its Five-fold Environmental Ambition policy.
According to these figures, it appears that the majority of food manufacturers have already managed this and have realised that recycling can have significant financial benefits, as well as be kind to the environment.
Director of sustainability at the FDF Andrew Kuyk said: "Tackling food waste is a key priority for our industry, both to make what we have go further, but to also help conserve the natural resources on which future production depends."
WRAP's head of food and drink Andy Dawe said his organisation was "delighted" to see the progress that manufacturing companies have made and hopes to see it continue even further to fulfill the 'zero waste' target.