SCOTS are recycling more food waste than ever with the total volume and associated carbon savings leaping by more than 40% in recent years, according to new data.

Reports published by Zero Waste Scotland show a significant rise in the amount of recycled food waste, with around 158,500 tonnes of household and commercial solid food waste collected in 2017, compared with the 2013 figure of 111,500 tonnes.

Individuals and businesses are increasingly doing their bit to help the planet as the additional rise in food waste sent for recycling (47,000 tonnes) has prevented the release of 41,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent being released into the atmosphere, as it has been saved from the general waste bin.

The figure is the equivalent of taking more than 22,000 cars off the road in the UK for a year, or driving around the world 5829 times.

Producing electricity, heat and gas from food waste through anaerobic digestion (AD) allows us to capture the energy stored in our food that would otherwise be sent to landfill or incinerated. Using this waste helps to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, Iain Gulland, said: “Scotland should be proud, the recycling of more food waste into sustainable energy is an incredible achievement.

“The rise in recycled food waste is welcome news for Scotland’s economy and for the planet. When we waste food, we also waste the resources that went into growing, processing, transporting and packaging it, so it is hugely important that we use what we have.

“Of course, some food waste is inevitable - we can’t escape waste of items like fruit and vegetable peel.

“This result is fantastic, but think of all the energy that can be produced from the rest of our unavoidable food waste.

“We are living through a climate emergency and individuals can have a great impact without even leaving the kitchen by simply using their food waste caddy.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: “I am pleased to see a growing number of people across the country taking action to reduce food waste.”