IS THE UK FOOD EFFICIENT?
5.3 millions tones of usable food gets thrown away in the UK each year. As a nation we are buying more than we need in our weekly shop and a huge amount of it ends up in the bin, unopened and wasted.
Over the past few years, everytime I have attended a lecture on sustainability the speaker has brought the conversation around to the problem of food waste. It is an area where we all have considerable control and where we can all easily implement positive environmental change. If in the UK we are throwing away a third of all the food we buy, whether we have brought too much, cooked too much or even during cooking cut half the carrot off to remove the leaves, we need to re evaluate our social view of food.
As obvious as it sounds, a great way to start being food efficient is to see what you already have in your fridge before you go shopping. Create meals that incorporate these ingredients – don’t leave them there to rot. Whether you love to cook or would prefer to be in-and-out of the kitchen in 5 mins, making sure you use what is in your fridge is an easy way to save money and reduce food waste.
In the UK, we throw away around 1/3 of the food we buy.
When deciding whether to throw out the last spud, I like to consider its embodied energy; that is the resources, time and energy input required to produce it. From seeds, water, fertiliser, farming labour, petrol to power farm machinery, packaging, transport, storage (in electric powered fridges) and staff labour at each stage to finally arrive in my kitchen. When you think about ALL these factors it seems insane to then throw it away. Wrap and WWF recently (March 2011) published a report that investigated the amount of water that was used to produce all the food that we Brits throw away each year.
It turns out that 6.2 billion cubic metres of water is used to produce the 5.3 million tonnes of food that householders waste every year, this is equivalent to twice the annual household water usage of the UK. When many of the origin countries are water scarce and even the UK has seem water shortages over the last few summers, it presents yet another incentive for us to waste less food.
*Statistics presented are based on research by Wrap: www.wrap.org.uk
LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE
It you don’t fancy reading the 120 page Wrap report - Visit the LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE website for some bitesize information and tips on how you can reduce the food you waste. Check out their witty Food Lovers campaign… www.lovefoodhatewaste.com