If the global food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world after China and the United States.
Households in the UK generate 4.2 million tonnes of avoidable food waste every year, and figures spike during Christmas. The result is that a fortune ends up in the bin, for example the UK collectively wasted £64 million-worth of food throughout Christmas 2014.
Behind these figures lies a food waste culture that has huge humanitarian, environmental and economic consequences – and in fact, if you seized just half of all the food that goes to waste from farm to fork, no one would have to go to bed hungry.
The good news is that an increasing number of initiatives to fight food waste are seeing the light of day around Europe.
In France, parliament actually adopted legislation earlier this year that prohibits large supermarkets from wasting their left over food. Instead, it has to be donated to charities.
However, the big retailers are only one side of the coin when it comes to generating food waste. During the holiday season, it’s mostly domestic households that could use a tip or two - which will save them money and do the environment a favour.
In Denmark, celebrities have long since joined the anti-food waste movement. This year, the well-known Danish TV chef Louise Lorang, who is also the ambassador of Denmark's largest voluntary organization against food waste, 'Stop Wasting Food' (‘Stop Spild Af Mad’), will go to war against food waste at Christmas. “Be sure to use the leftovers and be creative when doing so!”, she says. “Leftovers do not have to be boring!”
UNRIC’s tips for reducing food waste
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155, Block C2,7th and 8th floor, Brussels 1040, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 788 8484 / Fax: 32 2 788 8485