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Food waste prevention can help combat climate change, says WRAP

Out of all the waste initiatives food waste prevention has the potential to make the single biggest contribution to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Speaking at WRAPs annual review, WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin said that out of all the things WRAP could focus on, food waste prevention is the number one task to help reduce the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill. Goodwin said: We throw away 6.7 million tonnes of food every year that is 20% of everything we all put in our bins every week. If we could reduce the waste to 15%, it would be the equivalent of filling Wembley Stadium twice. In addition, if we implement food waste collections, then we remove a large element of the biodegradable fraction from the waste bin. According to WRAP we throw away 6.7m tonnes of food at home every year, half of which could have been eaten. Most of this ends up in landfill where it generates eight million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. WRAP has recently partnered with 17 local authorities to run food waste collection trials, designed to identify the best ways of collecting and processing food waste. At least three of these are delivering food waste to biogas plants where it is broken down to a biofertiliser and the gas produced is used to generate renewable electricity. If you treat a tonne of food waste using anaerobic digestion producing heat, you save roughly a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. By comparison, if you avoid producing a tonne of food waste in the first place you save nearly four and a half tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, Goodwin added. Image: Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP.

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