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Food and Drink

Food and drink accounts for some 25% of the average UK person's carbon footprint. Reduce your footprint by following the advice below

Over the coming weeks, we will be creating a series of blogs and articles to explain how what you eat and drink impacts on your Carbon Footprint. Here are just some of the topics we hope to cover

  • Why shopping locally and seasonally is important

  • The impact on greenhouse gas emissions of food waste

  • From Farm to Fork - where is your food being wasted?

  • Growing Your Own (See below)

  • Eating Out

  • How to reduce your food waste (see below)

  • How carbon footprints of different foods compare

  • How farming and food production practices vary around the world

  • How far has the food you buy been transported?

  • How packaging of food drink impacts on greenhouse gas emissions

  • Meat vs Plant based food - how do their Carbon Footprints compare

If you would like to suggest a topic for us to cover, or if you would like to write an article for us, do get in touch

Apples in a store

Top Tips for Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Reducing the amount of meat you eat, and increasing the amount of fruit and veg you eat, can significantly reduce your carbon footprint

 

It takes 100 kg of CO2 equivalent emissions to produce 1 kg of beef,

but only

0.5kg CO2 to produce 1 kg of potatoes

 

 

Data supplied by One WorldinData.org and is based on global averages, and so will very from country to country and from farm to farm.

Reduce your food waste

Globally, 25–30% of total food produced is lost or wasted

 

Food waste is estimated to contribute 8-10% of total man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Use shopping lists so you only buy what you need

  • Create a weekly Menu Plan

  • Use leftovers in another meal, or freeze them

  • Compost uncooked fruit and veg waste

    For more information visit wrap.org.uk

Buy food and drink that has been produced locally

 

Greenhouse gasses associated with transport, packaging and storage of food and drink are drastically reduced if it only travels a short distance.

 

  • Use local farm shops and markets where you can

  • Check labels on Supermarket packaging to see where the item originated - if it is not from the UK, then seriously think about returning it to the shelf

Freeze food before it goes off (1)

 

Hard cheese - if you are buying a big block of hard cheese to make the most of a store bargain, grate it first and freeze to use later. This is good for cheese on toast, on top of baked beans or in an omelette.

Milk - ideal for freezing in smaller quantities - big bottles take time to defrost and use up lots of space in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge and use within 24 hours. Alternatively, freeze milk in ice cube trays for popping straight into your hot drink!

Bread - you can freeze all varieties of bread. To make it easier to separate bread slices after freezing, bang your loaf gently on a work surface before you put it in the freezer. Slices from a frozen loaf can be defrosted as needed, or toasted straight from the freezer.

 

For more information visit wrap.org.uk

Freeze food before it goes off (2)

Bananas - bananas can go brown quite quickly so if you see them start to go speckled, peel and freeze them to use later. Frozen bananas are great for smoothies, as well as banana bread or loaf. Blend frozen bananas in a food processor for a healthy alternative to ice cream, or bake them in the oven with a bit of honey on top for a nice dessert.

Eggs - simply crack your eggs into a sealable container and freeze. You can separate yolks from whites first if you want to use them for different dishes.

For more information visit wrap.org.uk

Compost fresh food waste

 

Many items of food waste are completely safe to compost at home. Vegetable peelings, apple cores, banana skins, orange and lemon skins, egg shells, tea leaves and coffee grounds are all great for adding to you compost bin or heap along, with your garden waste, shredded paper and cardboard.

If you don't yet do any composting at home, this is a great website to get you started : www.gardenorganic.org.uk/compost

Grow your own

 

Food miles’ are a key measure of the environmental impact of foods and their ingredients.

 

Growing your own food, particularly crops such as tomatoes, aubergines and peppers, can dramatically cut the food miles of your meals, and therefore your carbon footprint.

 

Home-grown food is often much tastier and nutritious than shop-bought food, too.

Understand the date labelling on food packaging

Apparently 1 in 10 people throw food away based on the date labelling alone

Use-by dates are extremely important for making sure food is safe to eat. They are applied to foods that go off quickly and could cause food poisoning if not used before the use-by date. However, such foods can be frozen right up the use by date.

Best-before dates act as a rough guide for quality, and food can still be consumed after this date, though the flavour and texture may not be so good. For any food that has gone past its best-before date, if it looks OK, and smells OK, it's probably OK to eat!

Reduce the number of times you eat out each week

 

Food bought in a restaurant has a bigger carbon footprint than food you cook and eat at home due to the higher emissions associated with heating, lighting and cooking

 

Food purchased from Takeaways has additional packaging and transport emissions

Other Tips for Reducing your Carbon Footprint

  • Try cutting out pork and chicken in your diet, unless you are really sure it is free range

  • Only eat organic pasture fed beef and lamb

  • Reduce your intake of wheat, especially bread

  • Increase your intake of seasonal green vegetables

  • Only eat seasonal fruit

  • Avoid buying fruit and veg that are wrapped in plastic. Take along your own bag and buy them loose

  • Have a go at Growing Your Own fruit and veg - Zero Transport, Zero Packaging, and, as long as you use organic gardening techniques,  Zero Chemicals (see below)

  • Make a big effort to reduce your food waste (see below)

  • Adopt a weekly ‘Use up day’ i.e. one day a week spent cooking and eating food that might otherwise have gone to waste

We will regularly be adding more tips to the list, so do keep coming back to check them out. If you have any top tips you would like to share, do let us know

Have A Go At Growing Your Own Fruit and Veg

Even if you have a small garden, or perhaps only a balcony, you can have a go at growing your own fruit and veg. The many varieties of salad leaves, tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, and herbs can all be grown successfully in containers or grow bags. And everything you grow will be Zero Transport, Zero Packaging, and, if you use organic gardening techniques, Zero Chemicals

You can start things off as seeds on a window sill before planting them out, or these days, you can buy small plants ready to plant out straight away from many garden centres. The following sites give you all the information you need to get started:

Maybe you are looking for a bigger space to grow fruit and veg, and are thinking about getting an allotment. There are 5 allotment sites in Market Harborough, and many of the surrounding villages have a site too. In all cases, there is quite a long waiting list, so if you want to go down this route, get your name on the waiting list as soon as possible.

Reducing Your  Food Waste

According to the waste prevention charity WRAP, around a third of the food produced globally is lost or wasted, and it’s having a real impact on climate change, contributing 8–10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

March 7th - 13th was Food Waste Action Week. The following articles were produced by Sustainable Harborough Community looking at various aspects of this topic :

If you would like to join Harborough Climate Action or ask us a question, or suggest something you would like to see on our website, just drop us an email