Philip is on holiday at the moment, so in his place Helen Northmore – Head of Energy Saving Trust Wales – has written a post for the blog.
Embarking on the waste pilot in Wales has really opened my eyes to the amount of avoidable food waste we actually generate. In Wales we throw away 330,000 tonnes of food each year and more significantly, in Wales, we buy then waste around £500 million on food that could have been eaten.
As an office we all completed food diaries analysing our food waste and were all surprised by the results. Even those who felt that they were shopping and managing their store cupboards efficiently still saw room for improvement. I thought I was good until I wrote it all down and I realise that I cook meals that are too big and end up wasting food when I am full.
Wrap research has shown good intentions are often hampered by a range of factors including:
· Lack of planning when food shopping – buying more than is needed
· Poor food storage knowledge
· Lack of confidence around cooking
· Confusion over food date labels
Smarter management of our store cupboards and fridges and a better understanding of date labels would mean that we could prevent at least 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions each year. While a large proportion of these emissions are associated with embedded energy a significant amount arises as a result of food waste going to landfill sites.
Comparing carbon saving figures from our traditional ‘bread and butter’ energy saving messages like cavity wall and loft insulation with the equivalent carbon savings to be made through reducing our food waste shows that the Energy Saving Trust can make a significant difference by providing advice to consumers on this issue.
The ’Love Food hate waste’ or ‘Hoffi Bwyd casau gwastraff’’ campaign aims to educate consumers about the problems associated with our continued waste of food. It also provides consumers with a range of ideas, advice and suggestions to avoid such a large amount of waste including recipes to use up left-overs, storage and freezing information and advice on store cupboard planning. It is the combined efforts of bodies such as Wrap and here in Wales ‘Waste Awareness Wales’ along with our support that mean we should be able to work with consumers to make a significant difference to carbon emissions.