How does food impact climate change?

An awful lot, we have discovered.



We're on a mission to better understand why food waste is such a problem here in the UK - and what good things we can do to help make a difference.

Food has contributed to climate change like no other area of our lives. From the growing, producing, processing, packaging, transporting, storing, consuming and even disposing of - our desire for convenience, speed, taste, variety, health and enjoyment has built an industry capable of causing irreversible damage to our world.

But we're determined to make some sustainable changes to help turn it around.

So we're starting off by exploring some of the facts, myths and misconceptions about food. The guys over at Love Food Hate Waste are behind the #FoodWasteActionWeek initiative, and they have some amazing resources they have said we can share. So here are some of the most eye-opening things we have discovered so far:

What is the scale of the problem?

The UK wastes 6.6 million tonnes of food every year. 4.5 million tonnes of that waste is edible and just discarded because a) lack of understanding on the impact b) lack of time to think about an alternative c) lack of knowledge on what else to do with it.

Just to put this all in perspective; 4.5 million tonnes is the equivalent of 38 million wheelie bins, or 90 Royal Albert Halls.

But food just composts right? Especially if I put it in the right bin for my council to take away. What's the problem?

The answer is 2-fold. The good news is, green gas comes from a process called anaerobic digestion>. This process uses many waste sources, including food waste. It's great that food waste can be used as a renewable source of energy. It replaces fossil fuels and by choosing to heat our homes with green gas (aka biomethane), we can significantly lower our carbon footprint. (And of course we are the only suppliers of 100% green gas in the UK)

The issue is that the amount of food waste created in the UK, is far greater than our collective and current ability to convert it into something good. The process of binning, transporting and dumping our food results in all kinds of bad emissions and gasses being released into the atmosphere. And once those gasses are there, they can’t be put back in the ground.

What difference can we actually make?

We love good news. According to Love Food Hate Waste, here in the UK, many of us are already doing our bit to reduce food waste. In fact, compared to 2007, we’re saving just under £5 billion a year simply by making better use of the food we buy.

And that is on top of saving 5.0 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent to taking 2.1 million cars off the road.


So with that positive thought in our minds, we are going to learn just exactly what changes we can make to continue to turn this challenge around.