Sliced bread is the second most common product binned by Scottish households, according to a new study by government organisation WRAP Scotland (Waste & Resources Action Programme).

The Food We Waste in Scotland found that, of the 570,000 tonnes of food and drink thrown away each year, milk came out top (31,000 tonnes), followed by sliced bread (25,000 tonnes), fizzy drinks (23,000 tonnes), potatoes (19,000 tonnes) and ready meals or snacks (14,000 tonnes).

It adds up to £1bn of food needlessly thrown away by Scottish households each year, two-thirds of which could have been avoided if it had been planned for, stored or prepared better, said WRAP. Food waste works out at £430 a year for the average household, it added.

The most commonly wasted food groups (in terms of avoidable waste) are: drinks (70,000 tonnes, worth £140m); fresh vegetables (62,000 tonnes, worth £100m) and bakery (46,000 tonnes, worth £90m).

The survey found that half of the food thrown out for council collection was whole and uneaten, with one in seven items still in their packaging. At least £18m-worth of the latter was still within its ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date.

Iain Gulland, WRAP director for Scotland, said: “Not only are we paying for this food at the checkout, we are also paying to dispose of it through our council tax. This is a terrible waste in these difficult economic times.