The average family spends €15 a week on food that never sees a plate and goes straight into the rubbish bin instead, according to Kilkenny County Council.

Speaking last week, Bernadette Moloney, the Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, said that such wastage can be “easily eliminated, saving you money and protecting the environment”.

Ms Moloney used a “humble head of lettuce” as an example to prove her case.

“Energy is spent harvesting it from the earth, transporting it to a factory, processing it into a product and packaging to make it an attractive option for the consumer,” she said.

“It is finally transported to a shop where it may be stored in a refrigeration unit until it is time to be stocked on the shelf as a ‘two for one’ offer. The householder grabs the bargain lettuce and brings it home.

“However would you be surprised to discover that when Irish people were surveyed 33 per cent reported throwing away food regularly and 61 per cent of people surveyed admitted to throwing away a head of lettuce once a week?”

See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.