Food waste is food that we do not or cannot eat, whether that’s raw ingredients or prepared meals and snacks. Food that ends up in landfill produces a large amount of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. According to WRAP, 70% of the food that is wasted in the UK is wasted in our homes, adding up to around 4.5 million tonnes of edible food being thrown away every year.
How is food waste connected to climate change?
Food brings us together. Whether it’s catching up with an old friend over coffee and cake, or uniting the whole family around the dinner table, food provides us with comfort, familiarity and warmth. It nourishes us and helps us grow. Food is also part of many cultures and traditions that we could not imagine life without. So, what does this mean for our environment?
It can be difficult to make the connection between food and climate change. But, the journey of getting food into the shops and onto our plates takes a lot of time and resources, such as energy, water and fuel. From growing, picking or cooking the food, to transporting it around the world, food production is a complex process. This impact on the world makes it really important to value the food that we buy, and to stop it from ending up as waste.
Why should we act now?
Food is a big part of our lives and a big part of tackling climate change. By changing the way we buy and store food, we can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Not only this, but if, as a planet, we stopped wasting food altogether, we could eliminate 8% of our total emissions. There are over 1.4 million people living in South Yorkshire. Imagine what impact we could have if we all started being mindful about the food that we buy, consume and throw away.
Changing our behaviour doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. In fact, reducing food waste could actually save you money! It is estimated that the average UK household could save £720 per year, or £60 per month by throwing less food into the bin. If you’re ready to learn how, keep reading!
How can you make a positive difference?
Reducing food waste has many benefits for ourselves and our planet. All it takes are small steps and easy habits to help you make a positive difference. Check out our top tips for reducing food waste at home.
- Review what’s in the fridge, freezer and cupboards before buying more. Before doing your weekly shop, take a couple of minutes to evaluate what you have left over. Maybe you already have a couple of spare vegetables that could be made into a delicious soup, or half a packet of spinach that could enrich a curry or stew.
- Plan what you are going to eat. Make a list of meals for the week so that you can visualise what you need to buy, then make a shopping list – and stick to it! Buy only what you know you will use, rather than overbuying and ending up with too much.
- Save and freeze your leftovers. Rather than throwing away portions of food, why not pop them into a container and save them for a rainy day by freezing them. Most frozen food is best eaten within 3 to 6 months. This could also save you money!
There are many more ways to reduce your food waste at home, and each person can make a unique positive impact. Your advice and experiences could make a real difference for someone who might not know where to start. Share your story on social media using the hashtag #candosouthyorkshire – you can inspire your friends and family to make a difference for the climate.
Links and resources
For more tips on how to reduce waste, check out Waste Less South Yorkshire: Reducing Food Waste at Home | Waste less South Yorkshire (wasteless-sy.co.uk)
Plan portion sizes using Love Food Hate Waste’s portion planner: Portion Planner | Love Food Hate Waste
Are you ready to get involved in the fight against food waste in your community? Our partners Food Works would love you to join them, find out about volunteer opportunities here: Volunteer – Food Works (thefoodworks.org)