Food waste is a worldwide problem. It is estimated that almost one-third of the food produced in the world, about 1.3 billion tonnes, is lost or wasted each year. This wasted food takes a heavy toll on the environment, producing eight percent of the world’s greenhouse gases as it decomposes. Food waste also highlights the injustice of food distribution. Food spoils in one part of the world while people go hungry in another, therefore very different to waste disposal in Charnwood and other areas of the UK.
The UK Is Part of the Problem
The UK wastes 10.2 million tonnes of food every year. Many people throw their food into the bin, where it will eventually make its way to a landfill. The food decomposes and produces as much as 20 million tonnes of methane gas. Households are responsible for 70% of food waste in the UK. The average household spends 70 pounds a month on food the family will throw away.
Solutions for Preventing Household Food Waste
UK households can prevent food waste by being more mindful of consumption. Some restaurants are experimenting with AI technology to monitor their food waste habits. While you may not have access to this sort of tool yet, there are important steps you can take.
- Plan your meals ahead of time so you will use the ingredients that you already have.
- Go to the grocery store with a list in hand so you will only buy what you need.
- If you have leftovers, store them properly in the refrigerator or freeze them for another day.
Not only will these steps prevent waste, but they will also save you money on your food bill.
Solutions for Handling Food Waste
Even if you follow the steps above, your house will still produce some waste. You need to dispose of non-edible items such as orange peels, tea bags, and eggshells. Currently, there are two responsible solutions to this issue.
Composting Food Waste
If you have a garden, you can fertilize it with composted food waste. Some gardeners simply have a compost pile in a far corner. Others have a compost bin or tumbler. While composting reduces the amount of energy used to transport food waste, the food still releases greenhouse gases as it decomposes.
Some communities now use food waste to generate energy. Households receive a food waste bin along with rubbish and recycling bins. The food waste travels to a waste disposal centre where workers place it in a special container. There, it is broken down by microorganisms. This process produces methane which can be collected and burned as fuel for generating electricity.