‘Choose What You’ll Use’: Food Waste Action Week 2024

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The concern of climate change is constantly looming over us, but it is easy to think that as individuals, we are helpless in the battle against this global threat. Many people are aware that deforestation and combusting fossil fuels cause global warming, but it is often forgotten that food production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. However, a third of all food is lost or wasted globally: it is not just how we produce our food, but also how we consume it that also causes an issue. From UK households alone, 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are generated from the wasted consumable food and drink. As a greenhouse gas, this massive amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere contributes to global warming, which consequently leads to floods, wildfires and droughts, putting both humans and nature at risk. So, it seems something has to change.

It is often forgotten that food production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change

Running from the 18th to the 24th of March, Food Waste Action Week strives to reduce our impact on the environment, by encouraging everyone to use food efficiently and sustainably. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) have joined forces with the Love Food Hate Waste Network to bring about this initiative, and this year will be the fourth year it has taken place. WRAP’s research has found that on average, a four-person household in the UK buys £1,000 worth of food that is wasted, each year. With the current cost of living climate, saving this kind of money could be vital to some families.

In 2021, 6.4 million tonnes of food and drink were thrown away at home. Of this, 4.7 million tonnes could have been eaten, which amounts to 73% of wasted food. The main focus of this year’s Food Waste Action Week campaign is ‘Choose What You’ll Use’, urging people to buy loose fruit and vegetables where possible. By doing this, we can select the exact number of items we need, to avoid bulk-buying. According to the WRAP website, fresh food items such as potatoes, carrots and apples are among the top 15 wasted food types in the UK, with potatoes occupying the top spot. Furthermore, if all apples, bananas and potatoes were sold loose, we could save 60,000 tonnes of food waste. If we buy loose items more often instead of buying items in multipack bags, we will reduce the amount of non-biodegradable plastic that will end up in landfill sites, which is an added environmental benefit. The well-known chef, Gino D’Acampo is also supporting the campaign, and is featured in this year’s video, passionately talking about the initiative and the positive effect it can have.

If all apples, bananas and potatoes were sold loose, we could save 60,000 tonnes of food waste

There are many ways to get involved in Food Waste Action Week, and a variety of resources can be found on the WRAP website, offering information about easy changes we can make to our everyday lives that can make a difference. This year, WRAP have introduced the first Food Waste Action Week Partner Event, which will take place on Thursday 21st March. The event will be online, with a series of informative sessions from WRAP experts and industry professionals, and you can book your place to these talks via their website. The Love Food Hate Waste website also features insightful articles on how to use food sustainably, and other links to previous campaigns such as ‘Chill Your Fridge Out’, with information about the optimal fridge temperature to keep food fresh for longer. Furthermore, Love Food Hate Waste has a useful search function which generates recipes using any food item that you type in. This is really beneficial when it comes to the end of the week and it’s difficult to think of ways to make good use of the remaining food in your fridge or cupboards, before doing another food shop.

Changing your food routines can seem difficult at first, but even small changes can have a positive impact. If we take part in Food Waste Action Week and follow this advice habitually, we can hugely decrease the CO₂ emissions caused by wasted food products, helping to preserve the planet, and the species that live in it. So, we can all reduce our carbon footprint (as well as our weekly shopping bill) if we start implementing some sustainable shopping skills and choosing what we’ll use before we add something to the trolley.

Image credit: Anna Shvets via Pexels

2 thoughts on “‘Choose What You’ll Use’: Food Waste Action Week 2024

  • It’s fantastic to see initiatives like Food Waste Action Week raising awareness about the environmental impact of food consumption. Additionally, opting for loose items over multipack bags not only helps minimize food waste but also contributes to reducing non-biodegradable plastic in landfills. Moreover, incorporating sustainable shopping habits like this aligns perfectly with the ethos of using eco-friendly jute bags from India. It’s all about making conscious choices to protect our planet while enjoying the convenience and functionality of environmentally friendly alternatives.

    Reply
  • Great campaign. Always a fan of at least buying loose if I can and the option is there. But equally, if there’s veg in the fridge I’ll do my damnedest to do something with it, strands even if it’s whizzing it all into a soup or a sauce.

    Reply

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