Wasting food feeds climate change: Council unites with Food Waste Action Week to break the cycle

7 March 2022

The second annual Food Waste Action Week begins today, Monday 7 March. It will raise people’s awareness of the huge impact of household food waste on climate change and share practical advice, food savvy behaviours and tips on how we can all easily reduce the food we waste in our homes.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is backing the campaign, sharing tips on how we can all reduce food waste throughout the week.
The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said:

“We throw away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year in the UK. This food waste is responsible for nearly 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to 5.4 per cent of the UK’s territorial emissions.

“Most of this food could have been eaten and is worth approximately £14 billion – that’s £60 a month to an average family with two children.  At a time when many families are struggling with the rising cost of bills this saving could make a real difference.
“Even though we’re one of England’s leading waste and recycling authorities more needs to be done. Everyone in the borough can play their part to reduce food waste, and in turn, help the borough to become carbon neutral by 2045.”

Love Food Hate Waste runs an annual survey of people’s habits and knowledge around food waste. This highlighted that 81 per cent of UK citizens are concerned about climate change, but only 32 per cent see a clear link with food waste. The survey helped to inform the theme of the Week and the development of materials to motivate people to act.

This year, Love Food Hate Waste found that the public’s relationship with its freezers has become particularly frosty with many people not knowing how to safely freeze and defrost their food.

Sarah Clayton, Love Food Hate Waste said: “Getting to grips with freezing and defrosting are big factors in preventing food from going to waste at home. At a time of rising food prices alongside huge public concern about climate change, tackling food waste at home is one way we can all make a difference and save money. For the average family with children, the cost of binning food can be more than £700 per year. So, Food Waste Action Week is all about avoiding being savvy in how we store but then use our food.” 

Love Food Hate Waste is keen to show that used properly, the freezer is the king of the kitchen. In fact, freezing and defrosting just three key meat items that are commonly not used in time (fresh chicken, bacon, and sausages) could reduce waste of those items by as much as 15,000 tonnes per annum. 

And, when it comes to defrosting, busy households can avoid a lengthy overnight defrost by using their microwave instead – as people use a toaster to defrost sliced bread from the freezer. 

Councillor Shore added: “Working together, we can prevent food being wasted needlessly and protect the planet.”

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