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You probably haven’t thought much about the amount of food that goes to waste across the UK. You may not throw out that much in your household, so surely it can’t be a huge amount? Sadly this is not the case, and approximately 4.5 million tonnes of edible food is thrown away every year, in the UK alone.
This isn’t just an issue in terms of food waste itself either. As a nation, we’re also wasting money. This wasted food is costing UK households £3.5 billion a year. It may surprise you to learn that, of the food that goes to waste, 25% of it is the result of preparing or serving too much – it’s not just stuff we’ve thrown away after it goes bad. This means that a quarter of wasted food could have been set aside, eaten at another time, or frozen for later.
So what can you do about the enormous amount of food wasted in the UK? Try taking part in Food Waste Action Week 2023!
As the name suggests, Food Waste Action Week is all about reducing food waste, and making others aware of the impact wasted food can have. The overarching message is that if we use up everything we buy, we can save time, money, as well as the planet.
This year, the campaign is taking place between 6th and 12th March. The theme is ‘Win. Don’t Bin.’ and will additionally focus on how valuable a part food can play in our lives, uniting people and nourishing them.
The idea is to teach everyone ways in which they can use up leftovers, so that we can reduce food waste in the home across the UK. A range of skills will be promoted, which can be easily adopted and will hopefully be long lasting.
There are various ways to get involved in Food Waste Action Week! Direct sponsorship is one of the more obvious ways – you’d be joining the ranks of companies like Lidl, Ocado, Kenwood and Panasonic in sponsoring the cause. Other methods of supporting the campaign include promoting Food Waste Action Week, through events and other activities.
You can also simply spread the key message of the campaign, letting people know about it via social media and word of mouth. You can download the Food Waste Action Week Partner Pack if you wish to know more about getting involved.
Last year, Food Waste Action Week helped inspire people across the world to be more conscious about their food waste. A campaign was launched across social media channels, as well as digital and PR channels. This meant that the message reached over eight million people throughout the UK.
Of those who heard about the campaign, over half said that, as a result of the initiative, they made a real effort to reduce food waste. It’s been estimated that 55% of people took steps to use the food they bought instead of throwing it away.
Did you know that food production, transport, and other systems are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions? When you take into account the emissions that come from importing food into the UK, food and drink makes up around 35% of our greenhouse gas emissions each year.
So when it comes to climate change, and ensuring a net zero future, our food systems play a big role. Stakeholders in the food and drinks industry therefore have the power to do a lot of good – even slightly reducing their emissions could make a huge difference overall.
When we talk about greenhouse gas emissions, what do we really mean? Greenhouse gases, also referred to as GHGs, are gases that trap heat within the earth’s atmosphere. They are incredibly important, as they keep the earth’s average temperature at 14˚C. Without GHGs, the earth would have an average temperature of about -20˚C.
The problem is, humans are changing the natural greenhouse effect. Things like the burning of fossil fuels have resulted in more greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. This in turn leads to global warming, climate change, as well as smog and air pollution. We may also see the extinction of entire species.
Just about every sector of our global economy impacts GHG emissions. Most of them use fossil fuels in some capacity. And if we want to prevent the negative effects of climate change, we must move away from fossil fuel consumption. Renewable sources of energy are the first step, as is boosting energy efficiency.
As an individual, you may not be able to afford to install solar panels, or solely use renewable energy. However, there are things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Preventing food waste is one of them. More than a third of the UK’s GHG emissions come from food and drink systems, so it’s a good area to focus on!