Barrow and Furness MP, Simon Fell, is pledging to take steps to
reduce food waste.
In a blog post, the MP outlines the five practical steps he is taking,
and encouraging others to do the same
Mr Fell is a member of the Conservative Environment Network
which is a forum for conservatives who support conservation and
Did you know that food waste contributes to a staggering 8–10% of global greenhouse gas emissions? That’s why this Food Waste Action Week, I – along with colleagues in the Conservative Environment Network – am pledging to reduce the amount of food we throw away, and I urge all of you to join us however you can.
In 2018 households threw away 6.6 million tonnes of food, 4.5 million tonnes of which we could have eaten. Household food waste could fill around 66,000 three-bed terraced houses, equivalent to the population of a town the size of Peterborough!
If this food ends up in landfill, it will release methane, a greenhouse gas that causes climate change. What’s more, food requires lots of energy to grow and to transport to supermarkets. These are wasted emissions if we don’t end up eating it. If we freed up the land used to produce the food we waste, we could work with farmers instead to grow more trees, for example, to capture carbon dioxide and provide a habitat for wildlife.
So I’m taking five steps to reduce the amount of food I waste by: planning my meals so I only buy what I need; storing food correctly, such as at the right fridge temperature, so that it stays fresh for longer; using excess or unused parts of vegetables (such as broccoli stems) and fruit to make healthy soups and smoothies; putting surplus food in the freezer before it goes off in the fridge; and using a separate food waste bin or, if the council doesn’t collect food waste separately, setting up my own compost bin.
But it is not just down to us as individuals, there are also steps the government can take to help reduce the environmental harm from the food we throw away. The UK is a global leader in tackling food waste, reducing total food waste levels by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018.
The landmark Environment Bill currently progressing through Parliament will go further by introducing weekly separate food waste collections for households and businesses across England by 2023, ensuring food waste stays out of landfill.
Finally, to help drive down the amount of food wasted by supermarkets, the government is due to consult on mandatory food waste reporting so that businesses can be held accountable if they fail to take steps to tackle food waste.
But we need to go further. In Parliament I’m pushing for the forthcoming consultation on food labelling to consider ways of improving the clarity of ‘best before’ and ‘use-by’ dates to reduce food waste.
This would help save people money from throwing away perfectly edible food due to their labels. Research from WRAP has found that changes to products and labelling could prevent around 350,000 tonnes of avoidable food waste with a value of around £1 billion a year.
So, to protect the planet and your pocket, I hope you will consider ways in which you can throw away less this Food Waste Action Week.