The average UK family is wasting nearly £60 a month and for many, in these days of austerity and cuts that is money they can ill afford to throw away. Thankfully, the scale of the challenge to reduce food and drink waste has been highlighted by celebrities such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty. Cutting food waste in the home needs to be one of the UK's biggest environmental priorities.
Figures show almost half of the waste is going straight from fridges or cupboards into the bin. One-fifth of what households buy ends up as waste, and around 60% of that could have been eaten.
Here are some frightening figures of specific waste products, Britons waste:
- The equivalent of 86 million chickens every year
- 24 million slices of bread every day
- 5.8 million potatoes every day
- 5.9 million glasses of milk every day
The main reason for the waste is shoppers are buying more than they need, due to lack of clarity around storage, labelling and over-estimating portions.
Most of it ends up in landfill sites where it rots and releases methane, a damaging green-house gas. Throwing away food is also a huge waste of the energy, water and packaging used in its production, transportation and storage.
If we all stopped wasting the food which could have been eaten, it would have the same CO2 impact as taking 1 in 4 cars off UK roads.