Food Waste – Why we need to take action
16th November 2021
The current climate
There are many environmental issues in the world right now but many of them feel out of our control with big corporations causing a lot of the problems – things such as large power plants and factories will often come to mind.
Of course in reality medium and small businesses also have the own effect on the environment and can cause a significant amount of harm too but as it is not on the same scale as bigt corporations it is often overlooked.
Despite peoples beliefs, there is something a lot closer to home which is creating a significant amount of carbon emissions that we most probably overlook, that being food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations about 30% of all food is wasted and food waste accounts for nearly 10% of total global carbon emissions a year.
It is a topic that comes up in the media quite frequently, many people will have seen news stories on major companies whose bins are full up with food waste. In recent times, A well known donut chain in America had a video leaked where employees threw a large amount of donuts into the bin at the end of the day causing outrage. No matter what the donut chain actually do with their food waste, this shows how food waste is something people need to take seriously or risk bad PR and public backlash.
A study conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation indicates how food loss and waste accounts for around 3.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions which correlates to a scenario where if food waste and loss were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It’s these greenhouse gases that are damaging the planet by increasing the temperatures across the globe and melting the ice caps which is resulting in rising sea-levels. It is these rising sea-levels that will cause many parts of the UK to be underwater by 2050.
At the recent COP26 event in Glasgow research demonstrated that many parts of central London and coastal areas of the UK will be underwater. By lowering our food wastage we can lower the amount of greenhouse gases we produce – which will in turn help slow down the rising global temperatures therefore preventing the ice caps from melting even further.
Every bite counts
Hunger within the UK is on the rise and the number of families who struggle to feed their children has been an issue however, if food waste would be given to charities in order to tackle the growing hunger problem, both food waste would be reduced and there would be fewer hungry people. A large number of food is wasted in supermarkets and restaurants although there are now a number of new programmes which encourage food to be used in purposeful ways such as, using scraps to create a new dish or selling food going out of date for a reduced cost such as ‘too good to go’ – an app which was created in 2015 in Denmark.
Sustainability & Hospitality
Food waste is becoming an ever growing problem for the sustainability of our hospitality and catering services. With sustainability becoming a more important part of society, event and hospitality need to be as sustainable as possible in order for success. Catering companies have been employing sustainability managers in order to focus on their effort to become more sustainable.
Catering company Holroyd Howe has introduced sustainability managers in order to protect the environment around them as they are aware of the impact they have on the planet around them and aim to help and support the schools they work with towards a sustainable future. More inforamtion on this can be found at: https://www.holroydhowe.com/our-food/
Sustainable hospitality has seen large names including Hilton becoming more focused on being a sustainable brand – which has rewarded the Hilton with the name Global Industry Leader in Sustainability by DJSI which is the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the second year in a row – which makes it the fourth consecutive year that Hilton hotels have been recognised for their leadership in sustainability. Further information on how Hilton is making difference can be found here: https://cr.hilton.com/environment/
Whilst recovering from the effects of COVID 19 Hilton has remained committed to its ‘Travel with purpose Goals for 2030’ These goals were created in 2018 which relate to the United Nations sustainable development goals. Hilton is the first hotel which has set a number of carbon reduction aims which go alongside the Paris Climate Agreement.
Further in the hospitality industry, festivals are also trying to go green. A mission conducted by ‘The Powerful Thinking Vision 2025’ has pledged to decrease the number of greenhouse gases that are produced by festivals by over 50%. Cheltenham Festivals has pledged to ensure 0% of the waste they create end up in landfill along with a number of other sustainable goals such as reducing the use of single use plastic and encouraging the use of public transport to reduce ‘travel related emissions’.
Sustainability within Hospitality Teaching
Chawla G, a University of South Wales (USW) course leader, discusses the importance of being sustainably minded within the hospitality sector in order to be a successful manager. Due to this he is incorporating sustainability as part of the undergraduate hospitality courses offered at USW. He believes that being a sustainable thinker and overcoming environmental issues will hugely impact students career development in the future by setting them apart from others – therefore giving them an advantage hereafter.
Really insightful article and great to see Holroyd Howe being mentioned after their gold at the Green Apple Awards yesterday. I do wonder how catering companies can re-use foods without the consumer perceiving it as waste, such as cauliflower leaf crisps. It seems that the mindset of the caterer is different from that of the consumer. How could this be changed?
We are really pleased you enjoyed the article. From research we believe by informing the consumer further of the reasons behind our food recycling and educating them on the effects food waste, it will hopefully encourage a change within their mindset. With it becoming an ever growing issue, promoting food recycling as a positive market strategy may encourage the consumer to think differently.
It is very informative and it touches an important topic. I completely agree with what is written in the blog and the idea of giving the food waste to charities to reduce the hunger, instead of throwing it away is very good.
Thank you. We really believe that the food that is currently being wasted is not all inedible and that other uses could me made for it. Such as donating to those less fortunate or re-using the food to create another food item and this is a vital way to prevent the envrionmental impacts of food waste.
Insightful read. It is so true that people often feel disconnected and a bit powerless when it comes to fighting climate change. Trying to reduce food waste definitely sounds like an achievable way of doing our bit. Are there any websites you would recommend that have inspiration or recipes for using up food scraps?
Food waste is definetely something people can become more aware of in their day to day life to help reduce the impacts of climate change. We found a few websites dedicated to recipes which reduce food waste,our favourite was ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ which can be found here https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes. Hopefully you find the website useful.
Food waste for me is something that I try to think about often, and I generally try to not buy too much food so that none goes to waste. When I do end up accidentally wasting stuff I feel terrible! I used to work in a cafe, and at the end of the day any food that the staff did not take home would be thrown away. This was always heartbreaking to me as I would walk past a few homeless people on my way home and there are always so many people that could do with the food. I know that they can’t give food away due to the branding and the use by date, but it’s such a waste. To tackle the food crisis, I think an app such as Too Good to Go where people could collect to distribute food to those in need for free could be really helpful, but I know the chances of that happening are very slim.
Thank you Nia. It is wonderful to hear that you are so aware of the waste you are creating personally and that you do try to prevent it. Too Good To Go believe around ‘1/3 of the worlds food is wasted’. It may take more than just one app to prevent such food waste in the furture but it is definetly step in the right direction.
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