Reducing Food Waste is the Climate Action you can do three times a day

Date released: Nov 25 2019


Reducing Food Waste is the Climate Action you can do three times a day

  • Reducing food waste is one of the most effective actions you can take to address climate change – it’s simple, it’s free and makes a real difference
  • The EPA are challenging everyone to reduce food waste to combat climate change

25 November 2019:  Do you stop to think when you scrape half-full plates into the bin; or throw away food that was lurking at the back of the fridge? Not only are we wasting food, but also the resources used to produce, transport and supply it. All of this waste causes unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and scientists estimate that food waste produces up to 10% of all global carbon emissions. In terms of addressing climate change, reducing food waste is an action that everyone can do.

You might be surprised to learn that reducing food waste is one of the most important day-to-day actions we can take to tackle climate change and it won’t cost you anything. In Ireland over 200,000 tonnes of food waste is wasted at home, and this waste has a greater impact on the environment given the energy consumed in processing, transport, packaging and preparation. To help you to reduce your food waste the EPA have some great tips and advice on www.stopfoodwaste.ie.

Mary Frances Rochford, EPA Programme Manager said:

“We talk about climate change and the need for action, but often it is hard to know where to start. Reducing food waste is an immediate and effective way to reduce your personal carbon footprint. If every household in Ireland takes steps to reduce their food waste, this would be a great achievement towards reducing our national footprint. We as a nation are best when we work together to tackle issues and collectively, our individual actions will make a real difference.”

More than one quarter of all food produced is wasted worldwide. In Ireland, we generate more than one million tonnes of food waste every year which represents a carbon footprint as high as 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The EPA has three simple steps that individuals and families can take to get started in your food waste battle:

  • Make a shopping list, and stick to it
  • Make the most of the food you buy; don’t forget the leftovers 
  • When plans change, freeze your food and use it another time

We are encouraging everyone to join us in our Stop Food Waste pledge to go a week without wasting food. Visit www.stopfoodwaste.ie to find out how you can get started now on reducing your food waste.

Ms Rochford added:

“As part of the Climate Action Plan, Ireland has committed to halving food waste by 2030. We will do this by working with food producers; retailers and restaurants; but we also need every person in Ireland to take their own action. So make the pledge, get involved and begin to reduce the food you waste.”

You can join the Stop Food Waste pledge here.

Further information: Niamh Hatchell/ Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie

Notes to the Editor:

EPA Stop Food Waste Communications Campaign. Food Waste Global Fact Sources


Fact 1: Food waste produces up to 10% of all global Carbon emissions

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during 2010-2016 global food loss and waste contributed 8-10% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions
Quote: “During 2010-2016, global food loss and waste contributed 8-10% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions (medium confidence).”
Source: IPCC (August, 2019), ‘Climate Change and Land’ – An IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, Summary for Policymakers (B6.3, page 26)

Fact 2: More than one quarter of food produced is wasted

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) between 25% to 30% of all the food that is produced winds up being lost or wasted worldwide.
Quote: “Currently, 25-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted (medium confidence).”
Source: IPCC (August, 2019), ‘Climate Change and Land’ – An IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, Summary for Policymakers (B6.3, page 26)

Fact 3: Reducing food waste is one of the most effective actions we can take to combat climate change

Project Drawdown have produced a listing of 100 substantive solutions to global warming ranked according to their financial, social, and environmental benefit. Their models show reducing food waste as the third most important action (modelled total atmospheric CO2-eq reduction of 70.53 GT).
Source: Project Drawdown is a USA-based research and communication organisation which aims to function as an independent and trusted source of solutions to reverse global warming.