Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The alarming links between #FoodWaste, Society and #Climate #IPCC

Here at EMERGE we know a fair bit about food waste. Our sister charity, FareShare North West, combats food poverty (a growing issue not only in Greater Manchester but across the globe) by tapping into the huge amount of perfectly edible food from the commercial sector that would normally get sent to landfill because of excess product, damaged packaging and the like.

Wasting food when it is so scarce for certain parts of society is a silly thing to be doing, but landfilling this waste brings about a whole host of environmental problems, particularly in relation to climate change. Decaying food waste in landfills releases huge amounts of avoidable greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and with the IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) recent announcement about their most up-to-date findings on climate science (basically, we're not heading down a pleasant road, no matter how much the Daily Mail tries to skew the story (they're getting pretty well known for doing that at the moment)), this is an alarming problem.

A recent report from the FAO (the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation), which is a great read if you have the time, presents a slightly unorthodox but nevertheless astonishing fact that shows just how much of an impact food waste has on the planet. Apparently, if it were a country (stay with me here), food waste would have the third largest carbon footprint in the world, behind China and the US. In more local terms, it means that the carbon footprint of global food waste eclipses the carbon footprint of our whole country!

Food waste stacked up against the world's biggest carbon emitters. Not to scale.


Thankfully the issue is now getting national political attention. At their annual Party Conference last month, Labour announced that, if they won the election in 2015, they would ban the landfilling of food waste. Bringing about greater stewardship of our food networks through national policies like this can only be good, not just for society, but for the planet too.


EMERGE provides environmental education and advice on resource management, waste composition and sustainable procurement issues. Our business services include everything from recycling collections to confidential document shredding.  

We are now working in partnership with Cooler Projects to deliver carbon literacy training for businesses across Greater Manchester.  For more info see www.carbonliteracy.com or speak to Liz Lauder on 0161 223 8200 to book your places. 

Visit our new pop-up shop in Manchester city centre! Promoting the 3Rs of waste reduction, reuse and recyling, we are selling goodies and local arts and crafts with a 'Made in Manchester' theme.  Find us at Brazennose House West, Brazennose St, M2 5AS. Opening hours are usually 12-5pm Wed-Sat but are subject to change. Please contact office@emergemanchester.co.uk for more info.

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