Food Waste and the climate emergency
How to tackle climate change, feed a growing population and maintain economic growth? It’s the question we must answer if we’re going to truly address the climate emergency.
Everything we use as consumers has a carbon footprint. Everything we throw away has an impact on our environment, but how many of us know that throwing out food that could have been eaten is one of the major contributors to climate change?
The impact of air and road travel, and the effects of heavy industry are perhaps better understood. They’re certainly higher profile. Yet so much of the food we buy we continue to throw in the bin, and it’s doing significantly more damage than many might think.
If we consider that it isn’t just the food we’re wasting, but the energy and water used in its production, we start to see how wasting food is laying waste to our planet. And how making the connection between climate change and the food and resources we waste can hold the key to tackling the issue.
Aviation (domestic and international; passenger and freight) accounts for 1.9% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By comparison, an estimated 25-30% of global GHG emissions are a result of the process which grows, manufacturers, packs and delivers our food. Let that sink in.
Furthermore, 70% of this food waste – a staggering 4.5 million tonnes a day in the UK - comes from our homes.
Wasting food is out of date and its time we put a stop to it.
That’s the aim of a new Food Waste Prevention brand from WRAP, Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date. It aims to help householders see the food they waste for what it is, and to make the link between what they throw in the bin and the climate emergency. Because WRAP research shows that while 81% of people in the UK are concerned about climate change, fewer than 30% can see a clear link with wasting food.
With all the facts on the impacts, Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date offers practical advice that absolutely everyone can use to save money, cut waste and protect the planet.
The simple and stark message is that, wasting food has a significant impact on climate change and it’s no longer ‘okay’. Put simply, the more food we waste the greater the impact on emissions, and the greater the drain on resources.
The real positive message is that because of the nature of this waste, a solution is well within our means. To date, we’ve prevented 1.7 million tonnes of food being wasted, which has the same greenhouse gas footprint as 2.4 million cars. To go further, we need Wasting Food: it’s Out of Date to reach further than we’ve been able to reach before. We want more people to understand the problem and more people to act.
As with everything WRAP does, we cannot achieve half of what we do without the support of a wider, influential delivery team from across industry and government. A huge thank you to the many Local Authorities already supporting and sharing the message, that wasting food is out of date. We ask you to continue to:
- Visit, share and promote outofdate.org.uk. To start conversations and share thoughts on the link between food waste and climate change.
- Follow and support @outofdateuk on Insta, and if Twitter is your go-to platform, @outofdate_uk. Liking and sharing posts from WRAP.
- Champion the people and the businesses taking action to reduce food waste in your community and encourage others to step up to the plate.
To help you, WRAP have created a suite of eye-catching, impactful visual tools, resources and messages, all of which have been thoroughly tested with WRAP target audiences and key partners.
There’s a quick and easy quiz that helps householders understand where and why they’re throwing away perfectly good food.
Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date will raise awareness with people who aren’t aware of or who don’t care about the issue of food waste. It works alongside our established brand Love Food Hate Waste, and there’s also a range of practical guidance, tips, tools and hacks to inspire householders to find other purposes for their out of date spuds (and out of date dates), their peelings, crusts and other leftovers.
If every person in the UK wasted no food at home for one day, it could have the same impact on greenhouse gasses as planting half a million trees. The change needed to cut and ultimately end food waste on this scale will not happen overnight. But wasting food is out of date and this is a battle we can win. Better still, absolutely everyone can make a real difference by throwing away less food. The fight starts now!