Not The Features Ed Blog: Food Waste Action Week

Chris Terry © food waste

Have you seen our “Think Green, Be Green” page in this week’s issue? If so, you’ll know that this is the first ever Food Waste Action Week.

Started by sustainability charity WRAP and its Love Food Hate Waste campaign, it’s supported by TV cook Nadiya Hussain. They’re raising awareness about food waste’s contribution to climate change and providing easy actions and tips to help.

According to WRAP, nearly 10% of man-made greenhouse gases come from food waste, more than emissions from all commercial flights.

That greenhouse gases figure includes food wasted before it ever gets to households. However, WRAP says every year UK homes produce around 70 per cent of the country’s 9.5 million tonnes of food waste. That’s 6.6 million tonnes – estimated to cost £14 billion.

WRAP estimates that 4.5 million tonnes of that food could have been eaten. That averages out at eight meals per household per week*. It’s equivalent to 14 million tonnes of CO2e alone. About the same as flying from London to Perth, Australia 4.5 million times.

As Marcus Gower, CEO of WRAP says, “this is one environmental issue that we can all tackle, and with minimum effort.”

*Based on 4.5 million tonnes of wasted food, 420g meal weight and 27,576,000 households  

Did you know?

Here are some more facts and figures from WRAP to show the impact food waste has on our environment.

  • If food waste were a country, it would have the third-biggest carbon footprint after the USA and China.
  • If every UK household stopped wasting food for one day, it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 640,000 trees per day (around 230 million per year).
  • Almost 280 tonnes of poultry goes to waste in the UK every day. If we stopped wasting poultry, we could do the same for climate change as planting nearly 6.6 million trees every year.
  • We throw away the equivalent of 3.1 million glasses of milk every day. If we used every drop, we could do the same for climate change as planting nearly 6 million trees per year.
  • Every day 4.4 million potatoes go to waste in UK homes. If we all stopped wasting these potatoes it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 5.4 million trees per year.
  • 20 million slices of bread are thrown away at home in the UK every day. If we stopped wasting bread, it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 5.3 million trees per year.

So what can we do?

Love Food Hate Waste and Nadiya are asking people to take part in the Food Waste Action Week Challenge. The idea is to make sure no edible food ends up in the bin. Head over to the campaign website where you can:

  • Learn about portioning, planning and taking “shelfies”
  • Help your food to chill out for longer in the fridge
  • It’s a date – food label lore and how to (safely) go beyond the best before
  • Master the Compl-EAT art of eating – rediscover the overlooked parts of your veg
  • Love your leftovers
  • Stash with panache – food storage hacks to maximise shelf life
  • Make friends with your freezer – you’d be amazed at what you can freeze!

Wasting food feeds climate change

That’s the message of this week’s campaign.

“If we each make small changes we’d dramatically reduce the amount of food that ends up in the bin, and really can make a difference,” Nadiya says.

“From avoiding buying or preparing too much to storing food correctly, Food Waste Action Week is about helping people make the most of their food, and through our actions – help protect our planet.”

Are you taking part in Nadiya’s Food Waste Action Week Challenge? You can share your own top tips on Instagram using #FoodWasteActionChallenge and tag @lfhw_uk.

Be sure to let us know on Twitter or Facebook, too. We’d love to see your ideas!

Marion McGivern

As editor of the cookery, money, pets and eco pages, Marion covers a wide range of regular Features content. Along with the rest of the Team, she enjoys finding interesting features for both the weekly and Special issues that readers will love. Having so much variety every day means that over ten years with the “Friend” has just flown by!