THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF FOOD WASTE!

WHY IS FOOD WASTED?

Most of food waste occurs along the latter stages of the supply chain with distributors, retailers, and restaurants as well as the final buyers.

REASONS FOR FOOD WASTE IN THE LATTER STAGES OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Encourages people to buy more than they can eat with their disposable income means they can afford to waste leftovers. Refuses to stock produce that is odd-looking but otherwise perfectly edible. Customers want lots of options, and shelf stuffing encourages waste and products are more likely to reach their "sell-by" dates while still on the shelves. Misinterpretation of labels such as "best before", "sell-by" and "use-by" causes consumers to clear out their refrigerators and cupboards of edible food.

 

Globally, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year and this directly contributes to food shortages, water stress, biodiversity loss and increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Stop Food Waste, 2021). As food production accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions (Ritchie and Roser, 2020). 

1.4 billion hectares of world's agriculture land used to grow food that is wasted
70% of global fresh waster is used for agriculture
25% of global fresh water is used to grow produce that is never eaten

Additionally, with food waste that ends up in landfills, that begins to rot. It emits a large amount of greenhouse gas methane - that's 21-25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change (Eco & Beyone, 2021).

If food waste were a country it would be the 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the USA
6% - 8% the amount of world's greenhouse gas emissions caused by individuals that could be reduced if we stop wasting food

In the UK alone, household waste is responsible for 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) - to the amount of greenhouse gas produced, flying from London to Perth more than 4.5 million times (WRAP, 2021).

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO TACKLE FOOD WASTE AND HELP THE ENVIRONMENT? 

Have a look at the 7 Top Tips to Waste Less Food blog to tackle food waste and help the environment.

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