This paper presents the challenges faced in the UK, within the context of changes in consumer shopper behavior, lifestyle choice and shifting socio-demographics. It looks at where the concern and responsibility lies, and who the public believe should take the lead on tackling this issue. The paper assesses the management of food waste and recycling from local councils in the UK, manufacturers, retailers and government. A specific focus is given to plastics, and we discuss whether a move to exclude plastics entirely is actually realistic and ultimately desirable.
The solution to reduce waste and increase recycling will need to be multi faceted. The answers will ultimately be driven by manufacturers, retailers and the government, as our research shows that consumers see little responsibility being in their hands. We suggest three potential routes forward, focusing on design, behavioural science and messaging, to ensure waste does not become a missed opportunity.