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Modelling and reducing milk waste at home

Campaign suggests using filtered milk could reduce household milk waste by up to 80%.

by Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer)

Launched last week, a new joint campaign by milk producer, Arla Cravendale and the Tesco supermarket chain suggests that a filtered milk product, with a shelf life of up to 21 days, could reduce household milk waste by up to 80%.

This estimation is based on the ‘Household Simulation Model’ developed by academics from the food waste charity, WRAP, and includes Dr Christian Reynolds, Lecturer at the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London.

The Household Simulation Model utilises ‘discrete event simulation’ (DES) which is a method of simulating the behaviour and performance of a real-life process, or system.

The Household Simulation Model consists of four modules which help users understand key factors affecting household food waste production. These modules are shopping, storage, demand and consumption. Each module can be customised for household size and the behaviour of various, typical household decisions on shopping, storing and consuming numerous staple food items.

In this case, the model estimates that increasing the shelf life of milk from around nine days (UK average) to 21 days and increasing its open life from three to seven days could reduce the amount of household milk that is thrown away due to not being used in time by up to the margin of 80%.

Reflecting on the campaign, Dr Reynolds shared:

It is great to see Arla launching this new food waste campaign in partnership with Tesco. Our household simulation model shows that if everyone switched to longer life milk, this could drastically reduce milk waste in the home - to the scale of up to 150,000 tonnes per year! This represents a large carbon footprint reduction as well.

Find out more

Read about the Household Simulation Model method on the WRAP website.

Visit the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London, webpage.

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