Fighting Food Waste - Why And How
2.5 Minute Read
Did you know that food waste accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions globally than all of the commercial flights we take each year, and that if it were a country it would have the third biggest carbon footprint (after the USA and China)? If, as a planet, we stopped wasting food altogether, we’d eliminate 8% of our total global emissions. In the words of Love Food ate Waste, “wasting food feeds climate change”, but it’s also a huge social issue with food insecurity and the well documented rise of food banks recently.
Food Waste Action Week is this week (Monday, 1 March through Sunday, 7 March 2021) but really, every week should be food waste action week.
The impact of food and of wasting it happens all the way along the supply chain, from the resources used to raise it (land use, water, fertilisers), through the carbon footprint of producing food and transporting it around the world, to the food that goes to waste before it even reaches stores (misshapen or ugly produce), unsold or out-of-date food that is thrown away by supermarkets, food that is thrown away or not eaten in restaurants and homes, and then finally how it is disposed of.
It is an issue that we all contribute to in on way or another, and that we can all take action on to improve.
When it comes to food waste in the UK, domestic households top the league with nearly half of all edible potatoes getting thrown away. That’s £230 million worth! And there’s so much that you can do with potatoes before you even need to begin thinking about binning them. We published an article full of food storage tips and hacks a few weeks ago, including advice on how to store your potatoes and make them last longer (put an apple in amongst them), and there are lots of recipes for using up leftover cooked potatoes.
As well as knowing how best to store fruit and vegetables to give them maximum shelf life, many of us also don’t keep our fridges at the correct temperature – you could add up to three days onto the life of perishables such as milk or berries by keeping your fridge below 5 degrees Celsius!
The latest set box that we’re offering, the Lunch Box, is our most basic Fruutbox. It’s great for filling packed lunches (containing 25 portions, five or ten each of our most popular fruit for a tenner) but it also makes a great base for building a Fruutbox that suits your household’s needs by adding extra fruit and vegetables to it, and thus buying only what you need and reducing the chance that any of it will go to waste.
Finally, if you do have to throw any leftover food in the bin or if you have peelings and so on that you’re throwing away, how you dispose of food also has an impact. If you put food in a regular bin and it gets collected by the bin lorry and taken to landfill then the organic matter decays anaerobically (without oxygen present) and produces methane gas. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (it has a 100-year global warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide and when measured over a 20-year period, methane is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2) so putting food waste in your regular bin is something that should be avoided if possible. If you have a compost bin at home, or if your local authority collects compostable food waste separately (set to start weekly in Cornwall in 2022, thanks to a new refuse and recycling collection contract that began last month) then composting food waste in a well maintained compost system that lets in oxygen can reduce the amount of methane produced by anything upwards of 85%, with the carbon held in the soil produced.
Whether you plan your weekly menu and shop accordingly, cook meals that use up leftovers, consider how you’re storing your groceries, or compost your food waste, there are plenty of small actions that can be taken to reduce food waste. It’ll save you money, and the more people that do that the better it will be for our planet. As a family business with two young children to answer to, and knowing that many of our customers are in a similar situation, every little helps.