Wasted food and drink 

£12 billion worth of food and drink that could have been used is thrown away every year.
The average UK family spends around £480 a year on food and drink that could have been used but is thrown away. Wasting food not only costs you money but also wastes the energy and resources needed to produce, package, store and transport it.
Choose climate-friendly foods
The following tips can help you choose food with a lower carbon footprint:
  • meat and dairy foods have a much bigger effect on climate change and the environment than most grains, pulses, fruit and vegetables
  • buying fresh and unprocessed foods can mean fewer carbon emissions, because processing food and freezing or refrigerating it uses a lot of energy
  • buying food grown outdoors in season can help reduce emissions, because it doesn’t need heated greenhouses
Transporting food
Food from a long way away doesn't necessarily have a big carbon footprint. Food transported long distances by boat (like bananas or apples), or food imported when it’s in season abroad, can have a smaller footprint than:
  • food produced closer to home in heated greenhouses
  • food that needs to be frozen or refrigerated, especially for long periods
However, where food has been produced, stored and transported in similar ways, choosing food that hasn't travelled as far could help reduce CO2 emissions.
Can healthy eating help the environment?
For many people, a diet with less saturated fat and more fruit and vegetables would be a healthy choice. This could also be a greener choice if you cut down on saturated fats by reducing the proportion of meat and dairy products you eat.
Buying from producers
Buying directly, for example at a farmers’ market, means you can ask producers how their food is produced. Try looking for food:
  • from farmers who give high priority to looking after wildlife on their farm
  • produced in a way which helps conserve rural landscapes, like upland sheep or cattle grazing
Other ways of making greener food choices
Other things you can do include:
 
Cut down on car trips for food shopping
13 per cent of carbon emissions from transporting food come from individuals driving to the shops. Reducing shopping trips by car will help reduce carbon emissions, congestion and local air pollution.
 
Compost food waste
More than a third of household rubbish is kitchen or garden waste. Most of this ends up in landfill, where it gives off methane – a gas which has a big effect on climate change. However, when this waste is composted it doesn't give off methane.
Drink tap water
UK mains drinking water meets very high standards, uses around 300 times less energy than bottled water and doesn’t leave bottles as waste.
 
Reduce packaging waste
Packaging can help preserve food – but it uses resources and can damage wildlife. 'Greener packaging choices' has ideas on how you can reduce packaging waste.
Store and cook food efficiently
Defrosting your fridge regularly and putting lids on saucepans when cooking can save energy. ‘