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Where does all the food go?

We have some big numbers to report in this issue of ‘Rubbish Facts’. Hopefully numbers that might make everyone who reads this consider their own food waste – it has for the team at Site Solutions.

So, let’s dive in and explore the facts on food.

  • Imagine doing your weekly food shop, packing up three bags full of food, taking it home and putting one straight into the bin! Sounds absurd, but that is theoretically what happens. Around a third of all food manufactured ends up as waste. The impact of this is huge!
  • The UK alone wastes 10 million tonnes of food every year.
  • It might shock you to know that 2 million of that waste comes directly from the food industry themselves and only 1% of the total number is recycled for human consumption.
  • The most common wasted foods are potatoes and bread! We waste approximately 5.8 million potatoes and 900,000 tonnes of bread every year.
  • The most common reasons for food waste during production are: over production, stock control issues, damaged packaging or use by dates.

Did you know producing food alone requires the use of significant natural resources resulting in up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions?

Why is food waste so damaging?

The UK holds the crown for the most food wasted across Europe, most of which ends up at landfill. Although most foods naturally degrade, the process of this does have an impact on global warming. When food starts to degrade, methane gas is released. This gas is noted as being 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide owing to heat becoming trapped within the atmosphere.

In addition, the real problem is the sheer amount that is wasted every year across the globe, and the number of people who go without. There are many specialised food waste organisations set up to help such as The Felix Project and Fare Share.

Food for thought.

The good news is there are plenty of ways that this waste can be reduced. From a business point of view such as a supermarket or a restaurant owner, more care can be taken managing stock levels and use by dates. Food at home can be better managed by preplanning meals, cooking in bulk and freezing food to prolong its use by date.