We throw away 7.0 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. This is the equivalent to 260kg per household per year, or enough to fill 5 wheelie bins. It is 5kg per household per week, which is the weight of 5 bags of sugar!
Recycle for Buckinghamshire are proud to support WRAP's national Love Food Hate Waste campaign to raise awareness of the environmental and financial cost of food waste.
Food waste that goes to landfill causes the release of methane, a greenhouse gas, and contributes to global warming. There is also the huge amount of resources that go into producing our food to consider. Our wasted food emits 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, and if we were to stop wasting food it would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 5 cars off the road. This wasted food is also costing householder's massive amounts of money - £12.5 billion a year. If a family stopped wasting food they could save £700 each year.
What should I do with my food waste?
First of all we should try to prevent having food waste in the first place! We can all do this by buying only what we need, serving the right portion size and storing the food we buy properly. Try sticking to a shopping list and planning your meals ahead. Try this portion planning tool to help you buy and cook the right amount of food.
Did you know that making better use of your fridge and freezer can help food last longer resulting in less waste? In fact, there are potential savings to be made of around £200 million if we all used our fridges to store certain foods and lowered the temperature! Find out about storing fruit in the fridge.
Next we need to be more adept at using our left-overs! The BBC have an excellent recipe collection: click here to see what you could use up tonight for tea!
Recycling and home composting
So what about the unavoidable waste we produce when we cook, such as the vegetable peelings and fruit skins? The best thing to do with these is to home compost them, and recycle them into ‘gardener’s gold’ to use in your garden! Home composting is a great thing to do, as your waste food will break down aerobically (in the presence of oxygen), and in just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in three months!
If you would like more advice on composting take a look at our home composting page to find out how you get started and make the most of the great compost bin offers!
Energy recovery - your food waste caddy
If you are unable to home compost and recycle your unavoidable food waste into compost, then you can place it in your weekly food collection caddy. This is also where your unavoidable food waste should go, for example bones. This food waste will be taken by your district council to an Anaerobic Digester. The food waste is broken down in a sealed container by micro-organisms that produce a digestate and methane rich gas known as biogas. The digestate can be used as bio-fertiliser on agricultural lands and the biogas can be used to generate heat and power. One tonne of food waste can generate enough electricity to power 33 households for a day. Find out more here.
The last thing we should do with our waste food is add it to the general rubbish bin. From here it is taken to landfill where it breaks down anaerobically and releases methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane gas is one of the most harmful of the greenhouse gases.
Find out more
To find out more about food waste and to get tips and advice to help reduce what you throw away visit the Love Food Hate Waste website. Full of ideas on planning, portions, storage and leftovers it is a great resource to help save money and the environment.