Wasting Food Feeds Climate Change

Surely clearing out that mystery mouldy item in the fridge is harmless to anyone except the person doing the clean up? Think again! Brighton & Hove Food Partnership ask us to consider the wider consequences of food waste with their latest campaign.

Did you know that throwing away food is one of the biggest contributors to climate change? Around 25-30% of global greenhouse gases are caused by food production but a third of all food produced is never eaten.

In the UK, most food waste – 70% – is wasted in our homes. Each year we chuck 4.5 million tonnes of edible food into our bins together with all the resources it took to produce and bring it to us. To appreciate the scale of it, an area the size of Wales would be needed to grow all the food that we throw away in the UK.  

The most commonly wasted foods include milk, bread, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas and poultry. To give an example, we throw away 20 million slices of bread each day or half a loaf per person. Crumbs! If that’s not a fact to make you look up a recipe for bread and butter pudding, then how about this; If we stopped wasting food for just one day, it would benefit the environment as much as planting half a million trees.  As well as being a significant contributor to global warming, wasting food costs us dearly; £720 a year on average for a family of four. It’s the equivalent of losing a bag of lovely food on a weekly shop.  

But there is some good news. According to the national waste advisor WRAP, we wasted less food during lockdown. Being at home made us check in our fridges more often and use up our leftovers. We just need to keep up the good habits. After all, it’s the easiest and cheapest way to help the environment. 

To highlight the impact that wasting food has on climate change, this year Brighton and Hove Food Partnership have launched a citywide food use campaign to get us feeding bellies and not bins. Brighton and Hove Food Partnership will be organising citywide activities for the first ever national Food Waste Action Week from 1 – 7 March. Visit their website and find out how you can get involved or join in the conversation and share your food use tips by following @btnhovefood on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  In the meantime, here are 3 tips that can make a big difference to the amount of food wasted in the home.  

1. Make a shopping list and meal plan before you shop. It’s never a good idea to go shopping when hungry as you tend to buy more than you need.

2. Chill the fridge out. Your fridge will keep food safer for longer if set between 2 and 5 degrees.  

3. Freeze leftovers and things typically wasted like bread and milk. Food can be frozen right up to its ‘use by’ date. Make sure your freezer is below -18 degrees.
Brighton and Hove Food Partnership recently led the city’s bid for the Gold Sustainable Food Places Award. Brighton and Hove is the first city in the UK to have achieved this award. 

BHOGG will be signing up to an activity around growing and eating seasonally.  Got any good tips on seasonal veg and recipes?  Contact us at: bhogg.org@gmail.com

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