Climate Change

  The UK’s household food waste has a carbon footprint of 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (figure from WRAP). This figure is extremely cautious.

  10% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the the EU’s twenty-five member states comes from producing, transporting, storing and preparing food that is never eaten.

  This last statistic does not take into account possible contributions from land use changes, especially the disproportionate effects of meat and dairy—land must be cleared to grow the vast amounts of animal feed like soybeans and soymeal needed. The World Bank estimated that deforestation alone may be responsible for 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. In Brazil, the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, deforestation accounts for 75% of its emissions.

  Between 1990 and 2001 the percentage of Europe’s processed meat imports that came from Brazil rose from 40 to 74%. For products like soymeal, taking deforestation into account can multiply emissions by between 15 and 300 times.

  It takes 8.3 million hectares of land to produce just the meat and dairy products wasted in UK households and by consumers, retailers and food services in the US.

  That land could be used for other purposes—to grow food to feed people, to grow forests to help the world’s environment. If the possible landuse changes are taken into consideration too, the benefit of saving waste increases even more.

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