Food waste is a global problem, and one that we want to highlight on World Food Day, which is celebrated this year on 16 October 2021. When food breaks down at landfill sites, it releases harmful greenhouse gases like methane into the atmosphere. Approximately 8-10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions relate to food waste. If food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the US and China.
We waste an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year – around one third of all food produced for human consumption. This scale of food waste leads to habitat destruction, decreased biodiversity and overuse of land and water. To combat the climate emergency and help protect our environment, we all need to reduce the amount of food we waste.
Throwing less away makes economic as well as environmental sense. You can also reduce the carbon impact of the food you eat by eating less meat and dairy, as well as buying more locally source, seasonal food. A 2014 study showed going vegetarian could save up to a tonne of carbon dioxide a year, while opting for food that’s grown locally and in season means it will have travelled fewer ‘food miles’ before it makes it onto your plate.
Explore our quick and easy tips to avoid food waste below.
Simple ways to reduce food waste at home
Check the fridge
Check what food you already have in your cupboards and fridge before going shopping.
Use meal plans
Write a weekly meal plan and only buy what you need – remember to include leftovers in your plan.
Use your freezer
Freezing food can extend its lifespan and stop it from going to waste.
Get to know your labels
‘Use by’ relates to food safety, whereas ‘best before’ relates to quality. You can eat food after its best before date if you think it’s still fresh, but you shouldn’t eat food after its use by date.
Measure your food portions
Only make what you need to reduce waste – or have a plan for any leftovers.
Label and date your leftovers
Having an organised fridge and freezer lets you know clearly what is where and when you need to use it by.
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