In the UK, a colossal amount of food gets wasted – beyond the farm gate, an astonishing 22% of all food goes in the bin! This is particularly hard to stomach considering that 9-10% of people are experiencing food insecurity. Food insecurity means not having access to food because of a lack of money or other resources. Across the UK, communities are coming together to help one another.
Did you know… the average household throws away around 8 meals a week! In fact, the food we throw away at home accounts for 70% of all food waste in the UK. Actions from all of us can help save food from the bin and redirect it to the people who need it.
Bad for the planet
Throwing away food that is not properly recycled produces methane – yep, the same as cows’ gas! This is more potent than carbon dioxide.
Food waste accounts for 5% of the UK’s total emissions, the equivalent of 1 in 3 of the cars that are on the road!
What can we do?
Tactics we can all adopt include:
- Planning our food shops
- Checking ‘use by’ dates before we buy
- Only buying what we know we’ll use
- Signing up for food boxes such as Aber Food Surplus or OddBox that re-direct food from landfill
- Donating the food that we won’t get through to our local community
In the Resident Voice Index™ Community Support & Life after Lockdown survey, residents were asked about the support they received and the help they saw other people receiving over the past two years. Support for accessing food, such as online shopping, government food packages and food banks were popular responses. One of the other suggestions given was using food sharing apps.
Olio is one of these – it’s a mobile app that allows users to list food they may not be able to use before it goes off. By placing this food on the app for people in your community to claim, you’re helping to cut down on food waste. This goes both ways, so if you could use the free food yourself, you can also search for food being given away in your local area.
Over the past 5 years the need for food banks has risen by 128% and an estimated 2.5 million children in the UK live in homes without secure access to food. If we can reduce what we buy, support food schemes and make sure any food we have going spare doesn’t go to waste, we can address food insecurity and food waste together.
You can have a look at the full Neighbourhoods & Communities report and other suggestions from residents here.
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