Food Waste Action Week 2022: How is food waste a problem? 

Food Waste Action Week has returned for 2022 after the huge success of last year. By spreading the word that food waste was feeding climate change, millions watched videos, engaged on social platforms and even had a go at reducing food waste at home. 1 in 10 people say they recognise the campaign from 2021, so why change something if it isn’t broken? Food Waste Action Week this year, will continue to remind you of food waste’s devastating effects on the planet but instead of shocking you, it’s time to help. We’re answering initial questions like ‘How is food waste a problem?’ but it’s time to give some practical tips too – our favourite part.

How is food waste a problem for climate change? 

When you think of climate change, you’re probably not thinking about the banana peel you threw out yesterday. However, the link between climate change and your food waste is far more prevalent than you first realise. Only 32% of people in the UK recognise that there is a link between food waste and climate change, however, food waste accounts for more greenhouse gases globally than all the commercial flights we take in a year. That banana peel is looking pretty powerful now, isn’t it? 

Now you know that food waste is a problem for climate change, let’s get into the nitty gritty. How it happens. When your food waste is collected (and not recycled) it will often end up in an energy from waste facility or landfill. Both of these are subpar solution to the food waste problem, and both create greenhouse gases. One by burning the food and not safely capturing all the gases, the other simply allows the food to rot and release methane directly into the atmosphere. Not to mention all energy that goes to waste by growing, harvesting, transporting and packaging all the food. 

This is why recycling food waste is so important. The gas captured from an anaerobic digestion (food waste recycling) process is far greener as it is a natural breakdown process, and any leftover sludge is used as fertilisers to help grow crops in local areas. Of course, the best action to take is to reduce food waste altogether – which we’ve also got tips for. 

How can we reduce food waste at home? 

There’s a strange taboo around ‘frozen food’ that somehow, it’s not as nutritious or flavoursome. Now, we’re no connoisseurs but we can safely say we’ve never had an issue devouring a frozen pizza any more than we have by making our own fresh dough!  

Why are we talking about freezers? Because they’re your best friend when it comes to tackling food waste. Do you have some meat going out of date? Freeze it. Have you cooked too much and are now not sure what to do with the leftovers? Freeze it. Not only is it more beneficial to maximise the use of your freezer to minimise food waste, but it can also help save on your energy bills as your appliance doesn’t need to work as hard to keep the temperature cold. Every spare inch you have in your freezer, use it to help reduce food waste. 

What items should we specifically look to reduce waste from? 

Reducing food waste is a broad ask. When first questioned about it, none of us will think we are deliberately wasting food. These things happen. You might forget that the chicken went out of date the night before or perhaps you hadn’t noticed the mould creeping on the bread crusts. This is why we’re going to highlight the foods that are often wasted so you can keep a closer eye on them in your kitchen. Look out for: 

  • Salad leaves, especially the pre-cut and packaged ones 
  • Bread 
  • Milk 
  • Bananas (remember over ripe bananas are great for banana bread!) 
  • Cucumber 
  • Strawberries 
  • Potatoes 
  • Eggs 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Carrots 

These are the 10 items that UK adults say they throw away the most because they’ve gone off. So now you’re aware, you can keep a closer eye on them in your kitchen.  

If you were sat there asking “how is food waste a problem?” then we hope we’ve answered that for you. As food contributes to 25% of your carbon footprint, reducing your food waste can be a really useful way to make a difference. Fighting climate change doesn’t have to be a big and daunting task, it can be as simple as making some ‘pulled pork’ from that banana peel.

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