Food waste boosts emissions

A report by environmental organization WWF shows that food waste accounts for 3% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The overall aim of the study was to develop a set […]

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By Tom Gibson

A report by environmental organization WWF shows that food waste accounts for 3% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The overall aim of the study was to develop a set of scenarios that explore how greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system may be reduced by 70% by the year 2050.

The report also found that the amount of water needed to produce food which is then wasted amounts to 6.2 billion cubic meters- the equivalent of 6% of the UK’s water requirements; the 5.3 million tons of food wasted by UK households every year represents 3% of the UK’s total domestic greenhouse gas emissions. 



The majority of this food is sent to landfills where it decomposes and produces methane – a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The report also deduces hypothetically, that if the whole of the UK switched to a vegetarian diet and reduced consumption of livestock produce by 66% as well as adopting various technologies that would reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soils and methane, supply chain emissions would be reduced by 15-20%

UK meat consumption is three-times that of developing countries and the report claims: “Our results also show that a 70% reduction in supply chain emissions (i.e. excluding land use impact) may be possible without significant changes in consumption.”