Fight food waste this Christmas to give the gift of carbon reduction
Britain wastes almost 6.5 million tons of good food every year – enough to fill Wembley Stadium 11 times.
Experts agree that reducing our weekly food waste by 30% would stop 4.5 million tons of CO2 from polluting the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.
At Christmas, the problem gets worse, with around a third of British consumers admitting to throwing away more food over the festive period than at any other time of year. An estimated 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million Christmas puddings end up in the bin (figures from Unilever).
Food waste is bad for the planet
Food that is thrown away most often ends up in landfill, which is bad for the environment. As food decomposes, it releases greenhouse gases like methane into the atmosphere, which contribute to global warming. The nutrient value of the food is also lost, along with all the resources used to get it to our table.
In throwing away tons of food, we are also squandering the millions of litres of water used for planting, sustaining and irrigating crops and in the raising of livestock for the meat and dairy food chains.
The problem doesn’t just lie with consumers. Catering and retail businesses also generate significant festive waste, contributing to the eye-watering figures.
Achieving a Circular Economy
Where commercial food waste can’t be avoided, we are on hand to ensure that resources aren’t lost and that we can move a step closer to achieving a Circular Economy. Our fallen stock and food waste collection businesses are the first touchpoints in ensuring that valuable materials are reused rather than being sent to landfill.
Our animal and aquaculture feed ingredients, fuels and fertilisers are all made using natural and sustainable raw materials that would otherwise be considered waste. By keeping resources in use for as long as possible, it means that the carbon and resources required to rear animals for the human food chain are not wasted, and the nutrients are kept within the animal feed chain.
Reverse osmosis to save water
You might also be surprised to know that throughout by-product processing we generate more water than we use. The excess water evaporated as part of our processing goes through treatment facilities at both Low Marnham and Market Harborough. Here it is cleaned before being safely returned to the environment, but we also use some of this water for cooling and for cleaning purposes at the plants.
The excess water that we generate at our Low Marnham site is also made available to the local fire service.
How to have a greener Christmas
If you are aiming to have a greener Christmas this year, here are a few tips that can help:
Plan your food shopping for the number of guests based on a typical Sunday lunch.
Don’t feel obligated to buy traditional food if you don’t like it! Whether it’s sprouts, parsnips or Christmas pudding, if more will be binned than eaten, don’t buy it.
Buying frozen food can help in the fight against climate change. If every one of the 17 million fresh turkeys bought last Christmas was frozen, food waste would be reduced by 500 tons.
Plan meals for between Christmas and New Year that can use up any surplus ingredients. There’s a wealth of soups, stews, curries and sandwiches that can be made with leftover meat, veg and cheeses.
Avoid multibuy offers unless you’re certain you need the additional food. It’s not good value – or good for the environment - if half of it ends up being thrown away.