Why does food waste matter? Wasting food that could have been eaten is like buying it and throwing it straight in the bin! Not only is this an expensive habit to maintain, but the land, water, labour and fertilisers used in the production of food are also wasted. Not to mention the energy needed for transportation, packaging, storage, and even for the collection of waste from our doorsteps. Wasted food that ends up at the dump produces large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane that contribute to environmental damage and climate change.
In a world where the population is set to reach 9 million by 2050, food is becoming an increasingly scarce and valued resource and wasting it makes no sense. By making a few simple changes we can reduce the amount of perfectly good food that is thrown away, helping to keep both our wallets and the environment a little happier.
How does food waste happen? Food is wasted at many points along the supply chain. Farmers may lose much of their crop due to poor weather or may have it rejected by retailers who will only buy produce that meets certain size, shape and quality standards. Shops and supermarkets also create large amounts of foodwaste due to regulations that prevent them from selling food sold beyond its best before and use by dates and by simply over stocking the shelves. Cafes and restaurants throw away what is left on customer’s plates and also discard items that don’t meet required aesthetic standards. Despite this, around 50% of food waste is generated within our homes. Whether we buy or cook too much, forget what’s lurking in our fridge or find that food goes out of date too quickly, the average household in the UK wastes around £470 worth of food every year, that’s about 6 meals every week.
Which are the most frequently wasted foods? The foods that are most frequently wasted are fresh fruit and vegetables, drinks, and bakery items such as bread and cakes. Think about the half pack of bean sprouts from the new recipe that was attempted, the slightly stale loaf of bread, or the last of the wine that somehow got left behind.
For more information, see the Love Food Hate Waste website!
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