Environmental charity WRAP has delivered the first ‘Food Waste Action Week’ through their well-known Love Food Hate Waste. UK households produce around 70 per cent of the UK’s 9.5 million tonnes of food waste every year. To tackle this, Love Food Hate Waste (and celebrity chef Nadiya Hussain) asked people to take part in the Food Waste Action Challenge to make sure no edible food ends up wasted.
6.6 million tonnes of food waste comes from our homes each year in the UK, at a cost of £14 billion. Of that, 4.5 million tonnes is food that could have been eaten, which works out to around eight meals per household each week. This ‘edible’ element of household food waste is responsible for 14 million tonnes of CO2e alone – as much greenhouse gas produced as flying from London to Perth more than 4.5 million times. Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, which contributes between 8 and 10 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Public awareness of the impact of food waste has on climate change is less common than other environmental factors. Recent WRAP research found that whilst 81% of people in the UK are concerned about climate change, less than a third (32%) see a clear link between it and food waste. This compares with over half who make the link with aviation and climate change. In fact, global food waste produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all commercial flights.
However, according to 2020 WRAP research on the UK’s food habits during lockdown, being confined to our homes has resulted in an increase in behaviours such as batch cooking and meal planning, which help tackle food waste. But the latest insights suggest that food waste levels are likely to rise again as we emerge from lockdown.
Food Waste Action Week aims to empower people to make simple changes in how they manage their food to avoid it being wasted. Marcus Gover, CEO WRAP “Climate change is happening now and is the greatest threat to our planet, and our future generations. We must act, fast. Wasting food has a huge contribution to global emissions but is often overlooked or ignored. We are so used to wasting food that we’ve forgotten its value, and the cost that feeding our growing global population has on the natural world. Food Waste Action Week is about empowering everyone to act because like it or not, we in our homes are the most significant part of the problem. So, it’s down to us all to be part of the solution too, and this is one environmental issue that we can all tackle, and with minimum effort.”
Defra Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said, “Cutting food waste is not just about saving money. It is a vital part of the work we are doing to tackle climate change and protect our precious environment. Far too much food is thrown away, but we can take action to address this. Food Waste Action Week is a key opportunity to bring the whole food supply chain together, from farm to fork, to tackle this important issue.”
For more information visit wrap.org.uk