Given our world’s limited natural resources, food waste is a major concern. Here are some facts about food waste & natural resources that offer some food for thought:
§ Wasted food accounts for more than a quarter of total freshwater consumption globally.
§ If trees were planted on the land currently used to grow surplus food, we could theoretically offset a maximum of 50-100% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
§ Wasting food is not only an inefficient use of ecosystem services but also a wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides and fossil fuel-based resources. It has been estimated that the production of wasted food in the USA requires 300 million barrels of oil.
§ Food waste generates about 170 Mt of CO2 eq. in the EU each year approximately 3 percent of total EU emissions.
Feeding the 5,000 Dublin is one way we can educate ourselves about food waste and its effect on our world. While we waste, it’s estimated that over 10% of our fellow Irish citizens are experiencing food poverty.
Learn more. Do more. Join us Saturday, November 24th at Wolfe Tone Park in Dublin from 12-5pm and be part of a growing movement. Together, we can waste less and feed more.
What are the environmental implications of food production, transportation, distribution, consumption and disposal? See our Food Matters Leaflet.
There is a new on-line survey being done at the moment for Stop Food Waste with the chance to win a €200 voucher for a Green Hospitality certified hotel.
Help them with the research!
Have you ever been completely confused over the expiry dates on the food we buy? There is the ‘sell by’ date, the ‘use by’ date, the ‘best before’ date…how can we ensure that the food we’re eating is safe and that we are not throwing out perfectly good food just because of the date on the box/tin?
On average, we in Ireland are throwing away 1/3 of the food we buy. See Food Matters. Some of this is because of wastage on the plate and some of this is because the food has gone off. However, some of this is because we are throwing out perfectly good produce based on the expiry date printed on the lid. Our parents and grandparents never did this. They would use ‘the smell/taste’ test before throwing anything out. This wasn’t a perfect science and I’m sure that some people got sick. Nevertheless, this ‘smell/sniff’ test can supplement the current expiry date system.
The UK government is preparing to make significant changes to food labelling practices in an effort to reduce food waste. The new guidelines issued last month will simplify date marks to make it easier for shoppers to know when food can be eaten and when it should be thrown away.
The new guidelines recommend that ‘display-until’ or ‘sell-by’ dates are removed from packaging as these can be confusing to customers.
VOICE believes that we need similar changes in food labelling in Ireland. Food waste is a serious environmental issue in this country with households throwing away a third on average of all food. The simplification of food date labels would help shoppers reduce the amount of food they throw out and save money.
To find out more about the new UK food date labelling guidelines, visit DEFRA: http://www.defra.gov.uk
Our Coordinator at VOICE, Tara Connolly has written an article appearing in the Journal on Ireland’s problem with food waste. Read on to find out more about the environmental implications of throwing one third of our food away and what can be done about it.
The Journal, 4 August 2011
IMAGINE THE SCENE: you come home from your weekly food shop at the supermarket. You unpack the food you have just bought and put it on a table. You divide the food into three piles and throw one pile into the bin. It sounds like an act of madness but this is, effectively, what the average Irish household does every week.
According to the EPA, a third of all food bought by households ends up as food waste. But the scale of the problem is much larger with food waste created along the food supply chain and in commercial enterprises, such as canteens and restaurants. Read More