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Carbon footprint of household food waste

April 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm

The water and carbon footprint of household food waste has been recorded for the first time, showing environmental effects in the UK and globally.

A new report, jointly published by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), claims that water used to produce food that is then wasted by UK households, amounts to 6% of the UK’s water requirements.

The water footprint from the UK is worked out by calculating the amount of water used to provide goods and services around the country. Research from the report found that the 6.2 billion cubic metres of water, used to produce 5.3 million tonnes of food that is wasted each year, is almost twice the annual household’s water usage in Britain. This works out to be approximately 243 litres per person per day.

The new research follows reports in 2009 from WWF and WRAP that identified avoidable food waste as having a value of around £12 billion, when the majority that is thrown away could have been eaten. Moreover, apart from the financial costs when food is discarded, the water and energy used to produce it is not recovered, it explained.

According to the report, food that is wasted in the UK every year, is responsible for up to approximately 3% of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions, along with those added from overseas. This is the same as the emissions created by 7 million cars each year.

In the report WWF and WRAP highlighted the importance of preventing food waste at all stages of the supply chain and said that by reducing waste from food, positive steps could be made towards addressing climate change and poor water management.

Liz Goodwin, chief executive at WRAP added that “growing concern” over the “availability of water in the UK and abroad and security of food supply”, meant that it was “vital we understood the connections between food waste, water and climate change”.

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One response to “Carbon footprint of household food waste”

  1. Eco Global Markets says:

    The best chance of making the UK a low-carbon economy comes through community-owned green energy projects. According to a collection of civil groups that represent 12 million people, government support to create a low carbon economy should be greater. Local people need a stake in energy generation and to be given the chance to produce low-carbon, low-cost energy.

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