1. It’s estimated that 30 – 50% of food is waste globally. 1
2. 18 – 20 million tones of food is wasted annually in the UK. 2
3. Assuming that in the UK and US 25% of food is wasted, 10% of GHG emissions from these countries come from food that is discarded. 3
4. Globally 925 million people are undernourished 4 and in the UK 5.8 million people are living in poverty. Wasting so much food is arguable immoral when poverty is rife.
5. In the UK, over half the food waste occurs in the food industry. WRAP estimates that 8.3 million tones of food waste comes from consumers, 1.6 million tones from retailers, 4.1 million tones from food manufacturers, 3 million tones from restaurants, and 3 million tones from other groups5.
6. The irrigation water used globally to grow food that is wasted would be enough for the domestic needs (at 200 litres per person per day) of 9 billion people – the number expected on the planet by 20506.
7. An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards7.
8. At present there is no obligation on the grocery sector or wider food industry to report on the amount of food waste that is generated. Courtauld Commitment 3 is a voluntary pledge for food businesses that calls for a reduction in traditional grocery ingredients, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3% by 2015, from a 2012 baseline8.
9. The average UK family is wasting nearly £60 a month by throwing away almost an entire meal a day9.
10. In the UK every 1 tonne of food waste thrown away needlessly is responsible for 4.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions10.
1. The Future of Farming: Final Report. The Government Office for Science, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-food-and-farming (2011)
2. Food 2030, DEFRA, London, http://sd.defra.gov.uk/2010/01/food-2030/ (2010)
3. Staurt, Tristram “Food Waste Facts”, http://www.tristramstuart.co.uk/FoodWasteFacts.html
4. FAO, Global Hunger Declining, but still unacceptably high, Rome, http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/al390e/al390e00.pdf (2010)
5. Food 2030, DEFRA, London, http://sd.defra.gov.uk/2010/01/food-2030/ (2010)
6. Staurt, Tristram “Food Waste Facts”, http://www.tristramstuart.co.uk/FoodWasteFacts.html
7. Staurt, Tristram “Food Waste Facts”, http://www.tristramstuart.co.uk/FoodWasteFacts.html
8. WRAP, Caurtauld Commitment 3, http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/courtauld-commitment-3 (2014)
9. Food waste: what does the latest report tell us?
10. “Food Waste Recycling Blue Box” Mythr Tydfil, http://www.merthyr.gov.uk/Home/Local+Services/Environmental+Services/Rubbish+Waste+and+Recycling/Food+waste+recycling+(blue+box).htm (2011)
This was last updated June 2014