Certified B Corporation Badge


Too much on the plate

19 August, 2022

In simple terms, the more food we waste, the more carbon, or other greenhouse gases, we emit.  

When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane, which is a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  

The UK is one of Europe’s largest food ‘wasters’, with food waste contributing to an estimated 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. That is the equivalent to CO2 emissions from 52 million barrels of oil, or six coal-fired power plants in one year. Pretty hefty.  

The fact that over one third of all food produced globally goes to waste makes no environmental or economic sense, particularly at a time when so many people are struggling to afford to buy food. We tend to think about food waste in the home and in restaurants when thinking about how to combat it, as that’s the visible part. There are lots of solutions, from community fridges, and food sharing apps like Olio to clever hacks for getting more out of ageing food and recipes to use up leftovers. 

But a significant amount of food waste happens before it hits the kitchen. A recent investigation by Tortoise found that one in six big food companies are currently failing to deliver on their food waste targets, and the UK government has launched a consultation on food waste reporting and management of food surpluses. While reporting isn’t the same as positive action, it’s often a valuable first step to better management of an issue. You can indicate your support for mandatory reporting – which would be the first of its kind in the world – by joining Feedback’s campaign; they have prepared an automatic response you can submit to the government to urge action in this area, asking for mandatory reporting on food waste, including food waste generated at the farm stage of production.  

By Bertie Bateman

You might also like