There have been lots of talks and declarations about the government’s initiative to reduce food wastage in the UK. However, the pledges could not bring much of a result especially in the year 2015. It was observed that in this year, around 7.3 million tonnes of household food was wasted as per the statistics given by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). This was a slight jump when compared to the statistics of 2012 which recorded 7 million tonnes of food wastage.
When the UK food wastage is calculated in monetary terms, it is found that every year a total of £13bn of food is thrown away. This means that every year around £470 of food is thrown away by each household in the UK. Experts suggest that out of the thrown away food, nearly 4.4 million tonnes was good food, which means it was perfectly edible. Similarly in 2012, 4.2 million tonnes of edible food was thrown away needlessly.
Out of the 7 million tonnes, 4.4 million was edible while the remaining portion was scrap like food skins, eggshells etc. Throwing edible food is not only a bad practice but is harmful for the environment as well. As per statistics given by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), this much food waste emits 19 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. When compared against the greenhouse gases emitted by cars, this was equivalent to the gases emitted by 30 cars on UK roads.
To take charge of the situation, the government wants to rely on voluntary bodies like WRAP as appose to creating a separate institutional regulator. Experts are worried about the fact that the figures suggesting food waste are in complete contradiction to the government’s pledge. Moreover, cuts in local authority budgets and lack of investment in recycling process make it even worse. It brings a pointer on the government’s lack of commitment towards the reduction in food wastage.
However, not just the government but, the people are also to be blamed for such a huge amount of food waste. The issue can be addressed collaboratively with each side taking initiative. As citizens, we can also contribute to solve the problem by taking measures to cut down food wastage in our households. Small yet steady steps taken by each household can reduce the problem by a considerable margin.
What should be done to reduce wastage of food?
Stop buying extra edible food from the super markets. Don’t give in to discount deals that prompt you to buy more than what is required.
Volunteers can create funds for awareness programmes that teach people about the harmful effects of wasting food and how it can affect the environment as a whole.
There should be separate food waste collections in different areas so that people become aware about the enormity of the issue.
Teach children about the importance of food so that they do not buy and throw away junk food in their school and other hang out places.
Awareness campaigns should reach out to a higher number of people and the problem needs to get addressed from all corners of the UK.
Businesses, NGOs and other organisations should work in collaboration to cut down food wastage and to preserve the environment.
By collectively taking and implementing these measures, the people of the UK can actually reduce food wastage by 20% on an individual basis by the end of 2025. We should also bring in to the awareness that by throwing so much cooked food, we are also wasting a huge amount of gas used in preparing the food. Therefore, by reducing wastage of food, we can actually cut down on our gas and energy bills, which is the biggest necessity of today’s times.
To conclude, the people of United Kingdom need to work in unison with the government as well as local authorities to deal with the food waste problems.
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