Rankin: Turning the Lens on the True Impact of Food Waste

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To mark COP26 coming to Glasgow, Zero Waste Scotland has teamed up with portrait photographer Rankin to turn his lens on the true impact of food waste. 

Did you know that sending just 1kg of food waste to landfill produces the same carbon emissions as landfilling a staggering 25,000 500ml plastic bottles? Or that even when you consider the entire life cycle impacts of the production, transport and energy used to produce food compared to plastic, 1kg of food has the same carbon emissions as 150 plastic bottles – which is around around 4 bags for life full? You’re not alone, 86% Scots are unaware that food waste can be an even bigger contributor to climate change than plastic waste.

To highlight this issue, Zero Waste Scotland has teamed up with world-renowned photographer Rankin to create a food waste photo series that will be displayed in Glasgow city centre over the course of COP26. 

By taking the instantly recognisable silhouette of a plastic bottle and filling it with wasted food – Rankin's photographs highlight that we need to start thinking about food waste in the same way as we do single-use plastics.

But how do we start fighting food waste at home? Well, with small changes you can make a big difference – and we’re here to help! We have loads of really helpful resources on our site and on social media channels, here are a few of our favourites: 

The A-Z of Storage

Storing food correctly is the best way to make sure you get the best from it! The longer you can keep it at its best, the more likely you are to use it – it’s as simple as that.

Freezer Guide

Your freezer is your best friend when it comes to reducing your food waste! Our handy guide helps you turn your freezer into a real hero. 


We’ve got loads of great recipe ideas that can help you cut down on waste, whether that’s utilising leftovers, being savvy with ingredients or making the most of what you have!


We know there are instances of unavoidable food waste, fruit peels, coffee grounds, bones and shells, to name a few. However these can all go in your food waste recycling bin, which can in turn, feed our plants and heat our homes. By reducing food waste and recycling what is unavoidable we can ensure that nothing goes to waste.

Find out more about the Rankin x Zero Waste Scotland photo trail here.