Food is a fundamental part of each of our lives and how we treat the food we buy and eat can have a significant impact on our planet and carbon footprint. When cooking, shopping for or enjoying a meal with your friends or family, this guide provides you with the facts and tips you need to start a conversation on how to make the most of your food and reduce your food waste along the way.
If food waste were a country, it would be the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter.
Around one third of the food we produce is wasted worldwide every year. That’s 1.3 billion tonnes of food thrown away annually, generating about 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Scotland has a food waste problem. In 2014 Scottish households threw away around 600,000 tonnes of food and drink waste. The bread that Scotland wastes in one year could wrap around the world twice and the weight of the potatoes wasted in Scotland each year is the same as 63 kelpies.
When food waste ends up in landfill, it doesn’t have the oxygen it needs to decompose and instead releases methane gas for decades. Methane is much more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
Planning and smarter food shopping can reduce your food waste, and it’s also estimated the average Scottish household could save up to £440 each year.
What are the questions you can ask yourself, your family and your friends to help reduce food waste and maximise food planning to save money and carbon emissions? We’ve put together a few conversation starters on the topic:
The Scottish Government has committed to reducing food waste by 33% by 2025 (compared to 2013 levels). So far, we’ve invested £30 million in food waste prevention with the amount of food waste going to landfill in Scotland currently at its lowest level.
We’re helping more people than ever to recycle their food waste. 80% of households now have access to food recycling collections and take-up of household food waste recycling increased from 26% in 2012 to 55% in 2017.
Last year, we announced the first of our landmark investments from the £70m Recycling Improvement Fund. Over £20.3m has been awarded to 13 local authorities to increase the quantity and quality of recycling, marking the beginning of one of the biggest investments in recycling in Scotland in a generation.
Find out more and discover what more you can do on our Eating Greener page.
What other climate conversations can you have?