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Cook, TV presenter and author Nadiya Hussain has joined forces with Food Waste Action Week to help tackle the climate emergency and challenge the nation to reduce their household food waste.
Running this week from today March 1 to Sunday March 7, Food Waste Action Week is being delivered by Love Food Hate Waste and its partners, including Zero Waste Scotland, to tackle the devastating impact food waste has on the planet.
Public awareness of the impact food waste has on climate change is less common than other environmental factors.
- Research shows that while 81 per cent of people in the UK are concerned about climate change, less than a third (32 per cent) link it to food waste.
- UK households produce around 70 per cent of the UK’s 9.5 million tonnes of food waste every year.
- A staggering 6.6 million tonnes of food waste comes from our homes each year, at a cost of £14 billion.
- 4.5 million tonnes is food that could have been eaten, that’s the equivalent of around eight meals per household each week*.
Nadiya Hussain said: ‘Being at home more this last year has given many of us – including myself – an opportunity to reassess our relationship with cooking. Most of us don’t realise 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.
‘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.’
Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, which contributes between 8-10 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: ‘Scotland’s target to reduce food waste by 33 per cent by 2025 was the first of its kind in Europe. It is something we can all do to support our precious natural environment and tackle climate change.
‘Inspiring change in how we purchase, consume and dispose of food waste is not an easy task but we must all do our bit to help the environment and reduce our climate impact. I would encourage everyone to get involved with the Food Waste Action Week challenge and where possible, try new ways of stopping food going to waste.’
Iain Gulland, chief executive Zero Waste Scotland, said: ‘As a nation, we care about the environment. The challenge is making sure people in Scotland are aware of the impact of food waste and why its reduction is crucial in the fight against climate emergency – Food Waste Action Week will help us do just that.
‘We challenge Scottish households to reduce their food waste. That can be achieved through simple changes from meal planning to using up leftovers to storing food correctly. Reducing food waste will help save the planet and save money too.’
Marcus Gover, CEO WRAP, said: ‘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.’
Wasting food feeds climate change, statistics
- 30% of global greenhouse gases come from producing our food, more than all commercial flights combined.
- If food waste were a country, it would have the third-biggest carbon footprint after the USA and China.
- If every UK household stopped wasting food for one day, it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 640,000 trees per day (around 230 million per year).
- Almost 280 tonnes of poultry goes to waste in the UK every day, if we stopped wasting poultry, we could do the same for climate change as planting nearly 6.6 million trees every year.
- We throw away the equivalent of 3.1 million glasses of milk every day. If we used every drop, we could do the same for climate change as planting nearly 6 million trees per year.
- Every day 4.4 million potatoes go to waste in UK homes. If we all stopped wasting these potatoes it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 5.4 million trees per year.
- 20 million slices of bread are thrown away at home in the UK every day. If we stopped wasting bread, it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 5.3 million trees per year.
- 70% of food waste (post-farm gate) in the UK comes from households. But the good news is everyone can make a difference.
To take part in the Food Waste Action Week Challenge, people will be encouraged to share their top tips on Instagram using #FoodWasteActionChallenge and @lfhw_uk – from storing food, using up leftovers and making sure none of it ends up in the bin.