Going Green: Food waste in the UK is a huge issue

Food waste in the UK is a huge issue. Photo: AdobeFood waste in the UK is a huge issue. Photo: Adobe
Food waste in the UK is a huge issue. Photo: Adobe
How bad is the food waste issue in the UK? I've heard some really high figures but are people really wasting that much food?

To mark The King’s 75th birthday, His Majesty has launched the Coronation Food Project.

We know food waste is a huge issue, but it turns out, the UK produces the highest amount of food waste in Europe. Hence King Charles is hoping to highlight solutions to this problem.

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The UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste every year that’s a huge 15 billion meals.

The food we buy and bin has a value of over £19 billion a year, which is a staggering figure, not to mention how bad waste is for the environment.

Around 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are produced to make food that is discarded so a huge waste of resources.

As well as the cost to the planet, there are 8.4 million people in the UK in food poverty, where they simply don't have enough food to eat. Increasing numbers of children arrive at school without having had breakfast.

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So we’re literally binning food while other families are going hungry.

His Majesty’s Coronation Food Project – named after his Coronation year – aims to help supply 200 million meals for people living with food insecurity in the UK.

Launching the project earlier this month for his birthday on November 14th King Charles said: “For many years, I have been deeply concerned about the amount of food which goes to waste across our nation. At every stage of the food production process, millions of tonnes of food are sadly discarded.

"That, in itself, is a tragedy. But there is a second part to this equation, and that is the extent to which too many families and individuals are missing out on nutritious meals due to the cost of living pressures that have caused hardship for so many right across the country.”

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There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for local foodbanks across the country if people want to help out.

Simply googling “volunteer food bank” will show you the opportunities in your local area. But in addition to helping out those most in need, there’s an awful lot we can do with our own habits so those food waste figures start coming down.

Only buying what you need, making use of your freezer by freezing anything near it’s best before date, not shopping when you’re hungry, sticking to a list, have a weekly food planner, keeping veg and salad hydrated are all practices we can start to make sure we’re not throwing too much away.

The King’s Coronation food project has already supplied commercial fridges and freezers to 800 locations helping food charities to rescue tonnes of food that would have otherwise been wasted.

If we all do what we can to minimise waste, the Government commitment to halving the UKs per capita food waste by 2030 could actually be achievable.