When we think about climate change, we think about flying less, driving less – maybe even eating less meat. But what about our waste? Do we really know how much our waste footprint goes towards our carbon footprints – as individuals, businesses, or even countries? What impact does the stuff we put in the bin actually have?
This is the driving question behind the latest Love Food Hate Waste campaign by WRAP (Waste Resource Action Programme). The first ever Food Waste Action Week, running from 1-7th March 2021 is asking us to take a really honest look at the food we throw away – and how we can reduce it.
So back to impact – how much do we actually throw away? Well, around a third of the food we produce globally is lost or wasted, contributing to between 8-10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If food waste were a country, it would have the third highest carbon footprint after the USA and China. Wow. Not only is this a monumental waste of energy (growing, processing and transportation), it is a huge waste of calories – and money.
Imagine going to do your weekly shop, only to get home and throw one bag out of your three straight in the bin. We just wouldn’t do that. And yet somehow it adds up to that with those odds and ends, out-of-date items and things that just get forgotten… we’re all guilty of that from time to time.
What is the solution? Well fortunately, like many things in a functioning circular economy, there are lots of possibilities…
- make a shopping list – and stick to it. Sounds simple right? Because it is. Often we forget what we have in our fridges and cupboards, go shopping and return home to find that we already have a tub of yoghurt tucked behind the jam. The best way to reduce food waste is to eat what you have bought.
- meal plan. Going hand in hand with the first step, if you plan out your meals to use up all your perishable goods, you are less likely to have something stinky that you forgot about.
- use your freezer. Batch cook meals and freeze them for when you are too busy or too tired to cook. And let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t fancy the meal we’ve planned. No worries – stick it in the freezer for another day.
- think about how you store your food. Is your fridge at the right temperature? Keeping it at 5o C or lower can help food last longer. Plus, where you store it makes a difference. Those veggie / crisper drawers at the bottom of your fridge? They are designed to help retain moisture, so items do not dry out. But got a big head of lettuce that won’t fit in there? Wrapping items in damp (not wet) tea towels can help too.
- want to get more tips, hints and food waste reducing recipes? Check out the main Love Food Hate Waste website.