Most of us feel bad when we bin food, so it’s pretty shocking how much we do it!
Food waste has become such a big problem that the European Parliament is taking steps to halve food waste by 2025. The 27 countries of the EU throw away up to 50% of their edible and healthy food. Of course, it gets wasted at all stages of the supply chain, by producers, processors, retailers, caterers and households.
However, we consumers are THE main reason that 87 million tons of perfectly good food gets thrown away every year!
Who are the biggest wasters, according to the EU figures?
– Households: 42% of the food waste (60% of which is avoidable)
– Manufacturers: 39%
– Catering sector: 14%
– Retailers: 5%
It’s not just our own shopping budget we’re throwing in the bin, because the waste itself is expensive for the authorities to deal with… so the public ends up paying for it twice.
What’s more, there’s an ethical problem here too: how can we throw all this food away while 16 million EU citizens don’t have enough to eat and depend on food aid from charities?
Even in the UK, the fifth richest country in the world, food poverty is a problem. Oxfam reports that 13 million people in Britain live in poverty, which means they have to choose between eating properly and heating their home.
Yet DEFRA, the British government Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has just released new figures showing that 17% of all food bought by UK shoppers ends up in the bin. The average person throws out £26.68 worth of food every month: that’s equivalent to £346.84 a year!
So what can we do about it?
Well, whilst the EU Parliament is pushing for practical solutions to reduce food waste, through awareness campaigns and policy changes, we can all do our bit.
That’s why End Waste is one of the hiSbe 8 Everyday Choices. It’s about being aware and thinking through how we buy, store and cook food, so that we don’t bin so much.
A great first step is to visit the Love Food, Hate Waste website. They have lots of clear, practical tips for cutting down on food waste. In the end a little awareness will save a lot of food and money.
Many thanks to WRAP for the photos