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Cut Food Waste

Cut Food Waste

Cut down on food waste by making sure you only buy what you need and eat the food you have. You’ll minimize your home’s carbon pollution, save money and maybe learn a few new recipes at the same time.

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Why

When you throw food away, you waste more than a meal. You’re also wasting the energy that was used in growing, producing, packaging and transporting it. Cutting down on food waste helps keep your carbon pollution to a minimum. And less organic waste rotting on landfill sites also means less methane - another greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Don’t underestimate the scale of it - if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

Cutting your food waste has other benefits. Throwing less food away means you’re not throwing your money away on food you don’t eat. Using what’s already in your cupboard is a good way to get creative and learn new recipes that can be enjoyed by you and everyone you live with.

How

Only buy what you need

Plan your meals and write a shopping list to avoid buying things unnecessarily. Remember, bulk buying only saves money if you’re sure you’ll eat it all.

Store food properly

The longer it stays fresh the more likely you are to eat it. Learn about how best to store different foods: sealed or open, in glass, metal or plastic, in the fridge or at room temperature.

Use what you have

Check your cupboards before you buy and search for recipes that use ingredients you already have. Don’t throw away leftovers as they are an easy meal or snack for the next day. If you know you’re not going to eat something, find a way to freeze, pickle or ferment it before it goes bad.

References

Carbon and methane pollution from food waste
Wrap

Impact metric calculations:

Average food waste per household based on WRAP (2012), 'Household Food and Drink Waste in the United Kingdom 2012'

Carbon emissions generated by disposal of food waste based on Defra Conversion Factors, 2019

Also includes emissions generated by production of wasted food, based on an average of all popular food types using the following sources:

  1. Defra (2006) Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption.
  2. Audsley, E., Brander, M., Chatterton, J., Murphy-Bokern, D., Webster, C., and Williams, A. (2009). How low can we go? An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system and the scope to reduce them by 2050. WWF-UK
  3. Sheane, R., Lewis, K., Hall, P., Holmes-Ling, P., Kerr, A., Stewart, K., Webb, D., (2011) Identifying opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the Scottish dairy supply chain – Main report. Edinburgh: Scottish Government
  4. EWG (2011) 'Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change + Health'
  5. RD&T (2012), 'Carbon emissions from chilled and frozen cold chains for a typical UK Sunday roast chicken meal'
  6. FAO: World Banana Forum, 'Carbon footprint of the banana supply chain'
  7. SAI (2009) Carbon and Water Footprint of Oranges and Strawberries
  8. Mila i Canals et al 2007