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Food Waste

From farm to fork

When we waste food, it’s not the only resource that's lost. We also waste the energy, fuel, water and time that it took to grow, harvest, store, transport and cook the food.

Doing all we can to stop food waste will help the environment – and it will save us money too.

Farm - Livestock and crops need water and nutrients. Some crops are grown as animal feed, others to produce food for us. Fuel is then needed to transport the livestock and crops.

Processing - when food is prepared and packaged for us to buy, more water, fuel, time and energy are used. Transporting - Food is delivered to shops and markets including your local supermarket. It is also sent around the world in lorries, trains, ships and planes.

Storage - More energy is needed to power refrigerators, freezers and fluorescent lighting when storing food in shops and supermarkets.

At home - Storing food at home also uses energy. We use gas, electricity and water to prepare and cook food. Then we wash up with hot water and detergent.

But what about the foods we haven't eaten?

Use food later - You can store food in the fridge or freezer to eat later. If it's leftovers or extra portions of a meal you're keeping, you'll save yourself time and effort as well as prevent waste. Being eaten is always the best option for food.

Recycle food - You can recycle most foods using the food recycling service that's already available in many towns and cities and which will come to others. Recycling is a good option: it generates green energy, heat and products that benefit Scotland's farmers. You can also compost tea bags, apple cores, banana skins and other bits you can't eat.

Throwing food away - Food that we don't eat or freeze in time goes off. Often we throw it straight into our household bins. Left to rot in landfill, the wasted food produces methane gas. This greenhouse gas is around 25 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. Landfill is the worst place for food to end up.