Food Waste Action Week: UK campaign shines light on household food waste’s impact on climate change
01 Mar 2021 --- UK environmental charity WRAP has launched Britain’s “first national week of action” to tackle endemic household food waste that is linked to the rapid onset of climate change.
Food Waste Action Week (March 1 to 7) is being delivered through WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste brand. The organization partnered with cook, TV presenter and author Nadiya Hussain to help draw attention to the cause.
“Being at home more this last year has given many of us – including myself – an opportunity to reassess our relationship with cooking,” comments Hussain.
“Most of us don’t realize it, but wasting food is a major contributor to climate change. And it isn’t just the leftovers on our plate to consider but the many resources that go into producing our food, like water and land,” she continues.
“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. 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.”
Annual food waste amounts to 9.5 million metric tons
When it comes to food waste at home, UK households produce around 70 percent of the UK’s 9.5 million metric tons of food waste every year.
As part of their initiative, Hussain and Love Food Hate Waste will lead a week of activities offering tips and tricks to cut waste, simply.
In total, 6.6 million metric tons of food waste come from UK homes each year, at a cost of £14 billion (US$19.5 billion). Of that, 4.5 million metric tons is food that could have been eaten, which equates to around eight meals per household each week, flags WRAP.
This “edible” element of household food waste is responsible for 14 million metric tons of CO2 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 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Mind the link
Public awareness of the impact of food waste on climate change is less common than for other environmental factors. Recent WRAP research found that while 81 percent of people in the UK are concerned about climate change, less than a third (32 percent) 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, the organization outlines that 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 behaviors such as batch cooking and meal planning, which help tackle food waste.
Even as we emerge from lockdown, food waste levels are likely to rise again, as evidenced by the latest insights from the organization.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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