As a country, we are becoming much more environmentally aware as programmes such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet shine a light on just how fragile our planet is becoming, as well as the growing influence of activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion. Individuals and businesses alike have a responsibility to do more.
At Changeworks Recycling, we regularly speak to a whole range of Edinburgh businesses, large and small, and it’s encouraging to see that, regardless of sector, they all have one thing in common – a desire to become more environmentally sustainable and reduce their carbon emissions.
The hidden danger of food waste
Because of the increased media attention on the threat of plastic, most businesses and individuals we speak to assume that the best way to improve sustainability is to reduce their plastic consumption. And while this is hugely important and everyone must focus on eradicating single use plastics, the biggest thing that can be done to combat the climate emergency is to address the issue of food waste.
Yes, food waste is a bigger threat to the planet than plastic.
Why is it such a threat?
Businesses and individuals are all guilty of producing food waste, some businesses and some homes more so than others, without understanding the implications. When food is thrown away without being properly recycled, it ends up in landfill. As this food material breaks down, it produces methane, a hugely toxic greenhouse gas, which in the short term, poses a bigger threat to our climate than carbon dioxide.
So, it may seem fairly inconsequential when you are throwing away the last of your Sunday lunch or your employees are casting their third tea bag of the morning into the general waste bin every day, but the effects can be devastating.
Internationally, the level of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere from food waste is the same as from all global road transport. To put that into context, ensuring that food waste is properly recycled will do more to save the planet and reduce the threat of climate change than removing every single car from the road across the world. It cannot be underestimated how important this is.
What you can do to help
The fix is simple – ensure all food waste in your premises, office or otherwise, is recycled. Not only will this significantly reduce the threat of climate change, but the food recycling process actually captures gases that can provide an incredible source of energy. Installing food bins in your office and making staff aware of your new initiative will ensure that everyone is on board and understands what they have to do.
By recycling just one kilogram of food waste, you can generate enough energy to power all lights in a home for an hour. Keeping track of your progress through statistics like these will help staff members know they are making a tangible impact.
Consumers are changing their buying habits to avoid single use plastic, retailers are changing their packaging process and the Government has even introduced an industry-wide commitment to reducing the use of plastic in future. Such initiatives must be applauded, but the same approach urgently needs to be applied to food waste.
Collectively it is possible to combat climate change; we just need to focus on reducing food waste and ensuring it is properly recycled.
Changeworks Recycling are experts in helping businesses to reduce their food waste – get in touch today for a quick quote to find out how we can help you reduce your costs and cut your carbon outputs.