Shop and store food carefully to avoid waste.
About a third of all food is wasted, some before it gets to the shop and lots after we take it home, so there’s another half a tonne of emissions to be saved by avoiding food waste.
Producing, storing and getting products to our homes uses a lot of energy. If UK householders stopped wasting avoidable food and drink it would save emissions equivalent to a quarter of private UK car journeys made.
Some food waste can’t be avoided. It’s made up of things like peelings, shells, teabags and coffee. But the large part of household food waste is made up of edible food that is excess to requirements or has been left to go off.
Shop carefully to avoid wasting food – use a shopping list and shop for menus and meals. Best before dates are a useful guide and do not mean that food is necessarily unsafe to eat after that date. The food may be fine, a bit tired, or off, it is up to you to judge.
Use up outer leaves and tired veg to make stock and soups. Eat up your leftovers or re-use them in other recipes.
Buy short life-span food in small quantities to avoid waste. Buy what you need and serve realistic portions.
If you use up leftovers before they go off and compost the rest, you’ll save the associated emissions. When it rots in landfill, food waste creates methane gas which is 20-30 times more potent than CO2.
The Global Food Security Programme estimates that each of us throws away 95-115kg food every year in developed nations.