Ugh, it’s the end of dinner and now you have to work out what goes in what bin. OK. You ready yourself, surveying the chicken bones and rice, eyeing up the empty plastic packets strewn across your kitchen. Soft plastic, normal bin! Hard plastic, recycling! Chicken bone and rice … normal bin? And just like that, you’ve condemned us all to a fiery future of climate change disasters and death. Thanks.
But you wouldn’t be alone in thinking your food waste does little damage to the environment. Indeed, over two-thirds (69 percent) of British adults don’t realise that food waste contributes to climate change. A survey of 2,000 people by food waste app, Too Good to Go, reveals that the majority are unaware of the environmental impact of chucking food, while an even larger percentage (81 percent) do not know that a third of all food is wasted globally.
Food waste is responsible for about 8 percent of all global emissions each year—only slightly less than the United States or China’s contribution as entire countries. In the UK, environmental charity WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) estimates that 7.1 tonnes of food waste comes from our homes each year. While limiting the amount of food we as individuals waste is an important step in the battle to limit carbon emissions, the food industry at large—especially supermarkets—must also take responsibility. WRAP research has found that the UK food sector food sector produces 0.4 million tonnes of avoidable food waste per annum.
According to Too Good to Go’s questionnaire, 51 percent of respondents blame their food waste habits on forgetting about the food they have in the fridge, or not having time to check what they do and don’t have before going shopping. With the knowledge that food waste contributes to climate change, however, 80 percent say they would try to reduce the amount of food they binned in future.
In a press release, Hayley Conick, UK managing director of Too Good to Go, said: “It’s tremendous to see young people across the world uniting to create urgency around climate change but we need to translate that passion into action in our own homes.”
“Awareness is the first step,” she continued. “If people understand that throwing away food not only wastes money but actually harms the planet they are far more likely to stop doing it.”
So, stop forgetting about that half-eaten yogurt at the back of the fridge and remember to compost your banana skins. Unless you like global disasters????