A major new report which maps out how the UK can reach abolish food waste at landfill by 2020 has been launched.

The ‘Vision 2020: UK Roadmap to Zero Food Waste to Landfill’  report aims to save the UK economy more than £17bn a year by slashing the amount of food wasted by households, businesses and the public sector.

It calls on the government to introduce a phased ban on food waste to landfill from 2017 for business, based on turnover and or volume of waste generated, to give companies time to adopt alternative disposal options such as donating surplus products to food banks or as animal feed.

It also calls on the UK’s grocery retailers, who are estimated to produce 300,000 tonnes of food waste per year, to discount food near its expiry date, rather than use ‘buy one, get one free’ offers.

Retailers should also offer shopper guidance on storage and freezing, and ensure that date marks and instructions on food packaging are clear and consistent.

Other recommendations include compulsory separate collections of food waste from homes and businesses, and the launch of food waste education in schools.

Sue Riddlestone, chief executive of report co-writer BioRegional said: “Achieving zero food waste to landfill within the next seven years is a big challenge and we will need the support and actions of individuals, businesses and the government if this vision is to be realised.

“However, the case for change is compelling. We will save billions of pounds. We will prevent millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere. And crucially, we will ensure that food is treated as a precious resource.”