As the holiday season fades away, and we reflect on the lavish meals and celebrations, it’s essential to address a significant issue that often accompanies these joyous occasions – food waste. Surprisingly, 60% of food waste in the UK originates from our homes*. In a world where hunger and environmental concerns are growing, it’s time to rethink our approach to food consumption and disposal.

The Environmental Impact of Food Waste

Have you ever wondered how tossing a slightly overripe banana or a stale loaf of bread can impact the environment? The answer lies in the entire lifecycle of our food, from farm to fork to the bin. Each stage of this journey extracts resources from the planet and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, intensifying climate change.

Reducing food waste is not just about avoiding throwing away the remnants of a meal; it’s about preventing the emissions generated throughout the food production process. By ensuring that only the food we genuinely consume reaches our homes, we can cut down on the environmental toll of food production.

The Journey of Food

Consider the journey that food takes – from a tiny seed in the ground to a meal on our plate. Land, machinery, and human labour are all involved in the cultivation and processing of our food. After processing, it undergoes transportation to reach our homes, where we use energy to prepare it. The leftover waste then embarks on another journey to waste depots, contributing to further emissions and waste.

How Can You Make a Difference?

If you want to contribute to the reduction of food waste and its environmental impact, here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Control Your Shopping: Stick to a shopping list or budget to minimise the chances of items expiring before use.
  • Proper Food Storage: Understand the ideal storage conditions for different foods – whether they belong in the cupboard, fridge, or specific containers. Maintaining correct fridge temperatures is crucial for keeping food fresh.
  • Be Vigilant: Regularly check your fridge and pantry to ensure you use items before they expire. Rotate your stock to avoid missing items hidden at the back.
  • Consume Entirely: Extract maximum value and nourishment from your food by using all edible parts, minimising what goes into the bin.
  • Plan Ahead: Create simple meal plans to streamline your weekly shopping and cooking, preventing unnecessary food purchases and waste.
  • Thoughtful Shopping: Plan ahead to determine what you need, saving both money and resources.
  • Leftover Food: If you do have any excess, consider taking it to your local recycling plants to reduce environmental impact.

What do we do?

We take commercial and household food waste and recycle it. Our process involves taking the waste to an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Plant where it goes through an interesting process. The food waste is first unpackaged or prepared before being placed into the anaerobic digestion unit. At the bottom of the unit, gas is produced by the food waste, which is then transferred to a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system. The CHP system then splits the gas into two, one part is used to power electrical facilities, while the other part is used to power the anaerobic digestion unit for the second stage. The waste then goes around for the second time before moving onto the pasteurisation unit to be prepared for the final stage. In the final stage, the waste is taken to a digestate storage where it is transformed into liquid biofertilizer. The liquid biofertilizer is then taken to the fields for use.

Food waste is not just a matter of throwing away leftovers; it’s a global issue with severe environmental consequences. By adopting mindful shopping practices, proper food storage, and conscious consumption, we can reduce food waste, save money, and ultimately helping combat climate change. It’s time to savour every bite and ensure that our plates are filled with purpose, not just excess.

*Love Food Hate Waste (2019). Love Food Hate Waste. [online] Lovefoodhatewaste.com. Available at: https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/