UK Food Shoppers Throwing Away £10billion Each Year

good food
Bill Bailey asked:

UK – wasted food now costs UK homes £10 billion

The cost of needlessly wasted food to UK households is £10 billion a year, £2 billion higher than previously estimated according to new research. The research gives detailed new insights into the nature and amount of food waste thrown away in the UK and is believed to be the most comprehensive study of its kind ever carried out.

It reveals that the average household throws out £420 of good food a year. For the average family with children it’s higher at £610 – money, which could have helped pay household bills.

Researchers found that more than half the good food thrown out, worth £6 billion a year, is bought and simply left unused or untouched. For example, each day 1.3 million unopened yoghurt pots, 5,500 whole chickens and 440,000 ready meals are thrown away in the UK. The study revealed that £1 billion worth of wasted food is still “in date”. It costs Council Tax payers £1 billion a year to dispose of food waste.

Stopping the waste of good food could avoid 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents from being emitted each year – the same as taking 1 in 5 cars off of UK roads.

The Food We Waste Report:

This study which is believed to be the first of its kind in the world, consisted of a detailed survey of households and a physical analysis of their waste.

A representative sample of 2,715 households in England and Wales was interviewed, and several weeks later, 2,138 of them had their waste collected for analysis – with their signed consent.

The research was designed so that it could quantify the amounts and types of food waste being produced, but also made links between this and the attitudes displayed by, and disposal options available to the household.

Key Facts

· In the UK we are throwing away one third of the food we buy. That’s like one in three bagfuls of food shopping going straight in the bin.

· We throw away 6.7 million tonnes of food each year in the UK, when most of this food could have been eaten. (Its not just peelings and bones -its good food). That’s equivalent to filling Wembley Stadium with food waste 8 times over!

· In terms of environmental impact – producing, storing and getting the food to our homes uses a lot of energy. The carbon impact of food waste is enormous. Tackling it would provide a carbon benefit equivalent to taking 1 in 5 cars off of UK roads.

· Most of the wasted food reaches landfill sites where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

· High economic cost – at least £10bn worth of food that could have been eaten is thrown out every year.

· We throw food out for two main reasons: food gets forgotten and is left unused; we serve up too much and don’t use leftovers.

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