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Food waste facts

UK Households waste 25% of all the food they buy.

Approximately 20 million tonnes of food is wasted in Britain. Around 7.2 million tonnes is that is from people’s homes.

Love food hate waste estimates that wasting food costs a family of four around £680 a year.

An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables are rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ strict cosmetic standards.

A study by WARP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) found that 5,500 whole chickens were thrown away each day in the UK in 2010

Potatoes and bread were the two most wasted foods that could have been eaten. Check out chef Tom Hunt’s seven ways to use up bread that’s past it’s best here.

There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world. Less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe would be enough to satisfy their hunger and lift them out of malnourishment.

The bread and other cereal products thrown away in UK households alone would have been enough to lift 30 million of the world’s hungry people out of malnourishment

The UK, US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of their populations. Up to half the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork. If crops wastefully fed to livestock are included, European countries have more than three times more food than they need.

10% of rich countries’ greenhouse gas emissions come from growing food that is never eaten.

Between 2 and 500 times more carbon dioxide can be saved by feeding food waste to pigs rather than sending it for anaerobic digestion (the UK government’s preferred option). But under European laws feeding food waste to pigs is banned. In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan it is mandatory to feed some food waste to pigs.

2.3 million tonnes of fish discarded in the North Atlantic and the North Sea each year; 40 to 60% of all fish caught in Europe are discarded – either because they are the wrong size, species, or because of the ill-governed European quota system.

4600 kilocalories per day of food are harvested for every person on the planet; of these, only around 2000 on average are eaten – more than half of it is lost on the way.

4 million people in the UK, 43 million in the EU and around 35 million in the US suffer from food poverty.

24 to 35% of school lunches end up in the bin.

Unless stated otherwise, food waste facts are from Tristram Stuart‘s Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Penguin, 2009).

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