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Food waste   |   Climate change

Nadiya fronts food waste-climate campaign

Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain is fronting the UK’s first Food Waste Action Week to help raise awareness of the link between food waste and climate change.

Launching today (1 March) under the slogan ‘Wasting Food Feeds Climate Change’, the Food Waste Action Week will share tips in how to reduce household waste and a food waste action challenge, which Hussain will take part in.

It coincides with new research by Wrap, the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme, which found that 32 per cent of adults do not see a clear link between climate and food waste, even though global waste produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all commercial flights.

If food is wasted and ends up in landfill, it decomposes and releases greenhouse gases.

Out of a total of 6.6 million tonnes of food waste coming from homes each year in the UK, 4.5 million tonnes could have been eaten, the equivalent of around eight meals per household each week, Wrap said.

This edible element of household food waste is responsible for 14 million tonnes of C02 equivalent, according to Wrap, the equivalent emissions as flying from London to Perth more than 4.5 million times.

“Most of us don’t realise it, but wasting food is a major contributor to climate change,” said Hussain. “And it isn’t just the leftovers on our plate to consider but the many resources that go into producing our food, like water and land."

Nadiya Hussain
'Most people don't realise food waste links to climate change' - cook and writer Nadiya Hussain. Image Chris Terry. 

“If we each make small changes we’d dramatically reduce the amount of food that ends up in the bin, and really can make a difference."

“From avoiding buying or preparing too much to storing food correctly, Food Waste Action Week is about helping people make the most of their food, and through our actions – help protect our planet.”

It comes as Riverford and Wicked Leeks launched a new food waste campaign, No Time To Waste last week, to help people save food in their daily lives, and raise awareness about the climate link.

A weekly challenge will be hosted by Riverford’s community page The Hive under a new ‘No Waste Wednesdays’ series while Wicked Leeks will publish a range of articles on the topic of food waste throughout March.

Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, which contributes between eight and 10 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Although lockdown has led to more batch cooking and meal planning, Wrap said new research suggests that waste levels are likely to rise to pre-pandemic levels once lockdown is eased.

Chief executive of Wrap, Marcus Gover, said: “Wasting food has a huge contribution to global emissions but is often overlooked or ignored."

“Food Waste Action Week is about empowering everyone to act because like it or not, we in our homes are the most significant part of the problem. So, it’s down to us all to be part of the solution too, and this is one environmental issue that we can all tackle, and with minimum effort.”

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