UK wastes 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every year

Householders in the UK throw away 5.3 million tonnes of food every year and by extension, 6.2 cubic metres of water, which is used to produce the wasted food.

The findings come in a report, The Water and Carbon Footprint of Household Food Waste in the UK, published by WRAP and WWF.

The report says that the 6.2 billion cubic metres of water used to produce this food represents 6% of the UK’s water requirements.

The greenhouse gas emissions caused in the production of this wasted food totals 3% of the UK’s domestic emissions, with further emissions arising abroad – this is the same amount as that created by seven million cars annually.

These are emissions, says the report, that could have been avoided.

WRAP’s chief executive, Liz Goodwin said: “These figures are quite staggering. The water footprint for wasted food – 280 litres per person, per day – is nearly twice the average daily household water use of the UK, 150 litres per person per day.

“The greenhouse gas emissions associated with food waste are greater than those already saved by the total amount of household recycling that takes place in the UK.

“Although greenhouse gas emissions have been widely discussed, the water used to produce food and drink has been overlooked until recently.”

WRAP is working with retailers, food and drink manufacturers and local authorities to reducet food waste. They estimate that 670,000 tonnes of such waste were prevented between 2005 and 2009.

Alison Brown

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