The need to save food is all around us – from the big picture at a national and international level to what’s happening right now in our own fridges – and we all have a part to play. We’ve taken a look at some of the UK-wide challenges that we all face in the quest to make a real difference as well as those at a more local level.
1. The numbers game Right now in the UK, we throw away around 20% of all the food we buy: 6.6 million tonnes of it in fact, every year. It’s almost too big to get your head around, so imagine eight Wembley stadiums full of food. Roughly two thirds of this – six stadiums full – would have been good enough to eat, and with a few everyday changes it could be kept out of the bin.
2. Counting the cost Saving food is a great opportunity to save some serious money. Did you know that the 2 million tonnes of food in Britain thrown away because it's not used in time is worth £6 billion a year? And that throwing food away costs the average person around £210 a year and the average household with children about £60 a month? There’s a real opportunity for each and every one of us to save money at the checkout simply by saving more food.
3. Something nasty in the air Binning, removing, treating and dumping our food results in the release of harmful gases, including methane and carbon dioxide. Once they reach the atmosphere, they can’t be put back in the ground. Yet another great reason to live by the mantra – my food’s not rubbish.
In our own homes
4. Paying twice When it comes to the food we throw away, there’s a double whammy. Not only do we pay for food we don’t eat, but then we pay our local council to take it away and process it. All of which means more food that isn’t eaten and money that could have been saved.
5. Packing up We hear a lot in the news about the problems of too much packaging – in fact 88% of us think that it’s a bigger problem than throwing away food. The truth is that growing the food we buy creates 15 times more carbon dioxide than the packaging it comes in. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
6. Word of mouth Spreading the word is something we can all do. Why not join our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds and share your top tips, handy hints and favourite leftover recipes? The 6.6 million tonnes of good food we throw away each year has a big impact on CO2 emissions in the UK. If we stopped throwing it away we would save the equivalent of 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – that’s the same as taking a third of all cars off our roads.