No doubt you will have seen in the news recently impassioned pleas from teen activist Greta Thunberg calling for action to combat the devastating effects of climate change, and protesters worldwide calling for more action to be taken by governments and big corporations. And as a small business owner, you may be wondering what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint?
While it may feel that the actions of individuals or small business will not make a big difference, it’s important to remember that ‘every little counts’ and even small changes can make big differences.
One aspect that small business owners will be able to have a meaningful impact on is food waste.
Food waste has an enormous and detrimental effect on the environment. When food is thrown into landfill, it rots and produces large amounts of methane gas. This harmful gas is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere and is a growing concern amongst environmentalists.
Climate change and food waste facts:
- One-third of all food produced is lost or wasted!
- 9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year in the UK.
- The average UK family spends £470 on food which is binned.
- 100 million pints of milk are tipped down the drain every year in the UK.
- 240,000 tonnes of food is wasted by UK supermarkets every year.
- During the festive period, it’s estimated that 74 million mince pies are thrown away each Christmas and 4.2 million plates of turkeys and trimmings are also thrown in the bin.
- If one-quarter of the food currently lost or wasted could be saved, it would feed up to 870 million people.
- If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases behind the USA and China.
- The most wasted foods are bread, bagged salads, fresh vegetables, cooked leftovers, fresh fruits, milk, eggs, and cheese.
How to combat food waste to support the climate change movement
It’s relatively easy for small businesses to embrace the changes needed to cut down on food waste, and there are many ways to tackle the problem.
Embrace ‘wonky veg’
Don’t be too picky about the appearance of your food. Many supermarkets are beginning to sell ‘imperfect’ vegetables and while they may look a little comical, they are perfectly suitable for eating.
If you have small amounts of food waste composting is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to deal with food waste, why not take the food waste home and try growing your own veg.
Create a smart menu
If you’re running a café or restaurant why not try looking at ways to use the same ingredients to make different dishes, making your menu dynamic and cost-saving.
Try new recipes that make the most out of your leftover food and ingredients, check out the Love Food hate waste website for inspiration.
Recycle your food waste with a food waste bin – it will have the most impact on climate change
Food that is collected in food waste bins is recycled in an environmentally friendly way and reduces your carbon footprint.
There are two main ways to recycle food waste
- In-vessel composting, this involves mixing food waste with garden waste – shredding it and then composting it in an enclosed system. Temperatures of up to 70°C speed up the process and ensure harmful microbes are killed off, the material is then left outside to mature for 1-3 months with regular turning and checks to ensure quality before going on to be used as soil conditioner.
- Anaerobic Digestion uses microorganisms such as including acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetogens) and methane-forming archaea (methanogens), to break down food waste. As it breaks down it gives off methane, which is collected and converted into biogas and used to generate electricity, heat or transport fuels. It also creates a nutrient-rich digestate that can be used as a fertiliser for agriculture and in land regeneration.
Contact your waste service provider and request a food waste bin. By separating your food waste, you will be reducing your impact on the environment, and saving money as you will have less waste going into your general waste bin.
CheaperWaste offer different options and can tailor the service to best meet your needs. Contact us today!