The supply chain of food has numerous holes where a vast amount of food slips through. Food waste accounts for around 6% of global emissions, in context this is three times more CO2e than world aviation. Around 66% of the food waste is attributed to cultivation techniques, processing or transportation wastage. The other third comes from retailers and consumers.
This wasted food has to be grown, cultivated, processed, packaged and transported. Then sent straight to landfill, no questions asked. Trees are cut down to make room for this food that is never consumed. Rivers are polluted for this food that is never consumed. Animals are killed for this food that is never consumed.
As always world data should always be subjected to a regional review, as statistics can often be flawed on the “earth scale”. Small is beautiful. Therefore taking WRAP’s study of 2019 we can evaluate if the UK food waste is a problem. It is. In 2018 25 million tonnes of CO2e were related to food waste, which would be equal to 5.57% of UK’s total emissions. Food waste as a CO2e figure would include indirect emissions from agricultural inputs of imported food which would not be included in total UK emissions.
Post farm-gate, households are responsible for 70% of this waste, meaning there is no burden shifting that can happen in the UK on food waste. It is on us, the consumers. Our eyes are just to big for our stomachs.
My childhood was spent watching my mother tear of the mouldy parts of the bread and subsequently scrape the burnt bits into the bin when they were cremated in the toaster. Certainly not ideal, the point remains that food waste solutions are by nature simple. It entails thinking about how much food we buy and if we can feasibly use it within a given timeframe. Done right, this can lead to your food waste footprint disappearing. However, inevitably there will always be some wastage and there can be some really good ways of dealing with this. These apps are all on my phone and that I can testify will reduce the amount of food that you waste.
1. Olio: A food waste app which states on its website it has saved 6.5 million “portions” of food. It involves uploading a photo of your wasted items and then a user will request to take them off your hands. Completely free to us and you get the added kick of brightening someone’s day which is certain to give you good Karma!
2. Too Good to Go: A friend once told me a saying that has stuck with me for a long time, “however rich I get I will still love a deal”. Restaurants and supermarkets put on food that is left over at a vastly reduced price compared to standard menu items. It can be a post breakfast bagel, a lunch time burrito or a night-time curry, I have found such good quality meals for around £3. Imagine eat out to help out 24/7.
3. Out of Milk: This is a bit of a curve ball but bear with me. This is a shopping list app that is a dream to use. You can put your go-to meals in, or a full list of everything you need for the week and fly round Aldi. Taking minuets out of your week to plan what you eat will really help the amount you throw out.
If none of these apps tickle your fancy, your local food bank will be sure to take whatever food you have. Take one minuet to find your local foodbank here through The Trussell Trust.