WRAP launches new campaign to tackle food waste

Compost heap, food waste

WRAP has announced details of a new brand aimed at driving home the message that wasting food has a huge impact on climate change, and that we can all help to reduce our CO2 emissions by being more conscious of not wasting food.

Called Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date, the new brand has been created to communicate the simple message that wasting food is now as socially unacceptable as littering or not wearing a seatbelt.

Partnering WRAP’s existing Love Food Hate Waste campaign, the new brand will use more direct and harder-hitting messaging to reach those people who may not yet be aware of the connection between wasting food and climate change. It will show that everyone has the power to help to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions, and halve our food waste by 2030. Using social media, the brand will put initial focus on 18–34-year-olds to show that, like plastic pollution, wasting food has a huge impact on the environment.

The launch is being supported by a variety of partner organisations including HiSense, Co-op, M&S, and Unilever. Partners will use their own channels to support Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date and highlight the waste of precious resources that go into producing our food – like water, agricultural land, and energy – when food ends up in the bin.

Small actions, big impact

  • In the UK, 9.5 million tonnes of food are wasted every year; 70% of this comes from our homes. Of that, 4.5 million tonnes could have been eaten.
  • Bread waste in UK homes generates 318,000 tonnes of CO2 annually – the same as 140,000 cars. If we all stopped wasting bread at home for one year, it would have the same impact as planting over five million trees.
  • Bananas are one of the most wasted fruits in UK homes. It takes 3,000 hectares to grow the bananas we waste every year. Every day in the UK, 920,000 bananas are wasted using up 330 billion litres of water to grow annually.

Making the link

WRAP research shows that while 81% of people in the UK are concerned about climate change, fewer than 30% can see a clear link with wasting food.

This year, WRAP conducted a series of public surveys to evaluate how lockdown measures have affected our food behaviours at home. The September survey Food waste and Covid-19 Survey 3: Life in Flux highlighted that, although there are gaps in terms of understanding how wasting food affects climate change, people do have a desire to do the right thing.

WRAP found that earlier in the year the main factors behind people actively trying to waste less food related to the circumstances of lockdown, such as reluctance to go shopping and fear of running out of food. In September, new research showed that people are becoming more concerned about the waste of good food and money, than restrictions. But a quarter of the UK population still falls into the category of ‘high levels of food waste’, and WRAP believes it has never been more crucial to have a compelling, hard-hitting brand to raise awareness, like Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date.

WRAP chief executive officer Marcus Gover said:

“The food we waste is damaging our planet, devastating our biodiversity and draining our water supplies. Yet our research shows that not enough people realise how seriously wasting food contributes to climate change. In reality, wasted food produces six times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as global aviation. Many of us blame farmers, producers and supermarkets but the truth is, it is us, households, who waste more food than any other sector combined, and the onus is on us all to see this, and act.

“We want Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date to reach further than we’ve been able to reach before. We want more people to understand the problem, and act. Because when we do, we achieve great things. To date, we’ve prevented 1.7Mt of food being wasted, which has the same GHG footprint as 2.4m cars – that’s more than all the new cars registered last year. But we need more people to act, and more people to say that Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date.”

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