Amid the stress of Brexit and a seemingly uncertain future, other crucial issues can often come off the table. One of them is the disastrous consequences of food waste.
Let's take a moment to digest the frightening fact that one third of the world's food supply is wasted.
This equates to around 1.6 billion tonnes of fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood and grains that can be bad on the farm, spoiled or spoiled during distribution, or thrown away in supermarkets, restaurants and kitchens in our own home. "
Worryingly, it is also predicted that by 2030, the annual loss of food and waste will be 2.1 billion tons, which is shocking: the current figures are high enough to feed every malnourished person on Earth several times.
In the UK, food waste is 10.2 million tonnes per year. And we are guilty; Our households waste about 7.1 million tons.
In a world where so many are starving, it is undeniable that we are wasting so much food. Not only is this immoral, it also has an unbelievably large impact on the environment, as food waste causes about eight percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
These eye-opening statistics make it clear that something needs to change, and fast. When I saw a landfill in action for the first time, I was in despair. I remembered the saying "Landfills are a Disneyland for Birds" – but what I saw was far from a fairy tale when huge gulls swarmed over the discarded thing. It was chaotic, loud, stinking and unbelievable to grasp the sheer mass of waste we are responsible for.
When landfilled food is disposed of, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide, contributing to the ever-obvious problem of climate change.
The Replenish project aims to attract people in Oxfordshire to the issue of food waste and composting. The project is funded by the Oxfordshire County Council and conducted in partnership with Good Food Oxford and Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and the Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).
The project supports volunteers in managing food waste and promoting composting in their communities. Volunteers in Abingdon and Witney set up refrigerators. These are stocked with superfluous food from supermarkets, which are then freely available to all members of the community. These refrigerators have enormous potential to combat food poverty and waste. The average refrigerator saves over 7000 kg of food per year. Other volunteers have organized cafes with food surpluses, creative cooking workshops and community composting programs.
Composting is a great way to reduce your food waste and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and is easier than you think. Simply put, compost is organic and can range from a twig to an apple core and even old bread! When combined on a compost pile, the items naturally disintegrate into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that helps gardens stay healthy and grow well.
READ MORE: The campaign against the highway goes to the Supreme Court
In addition, a wildlife sanctuary will be created and a habitat for a variety of mini-beasts such as ants, butterflies, bees or lilies, which are a good source of food for animals such as hedgehogs. I had a lot of fun with my young nephew and niece, who discovered various sinister crawlers in the garden, thriving thanks to a compost heap that helps children to help their parents.
If you want to give it a try, check out the BBOWT Compost Guide (bbowt.org.uk/actions/how-compost-your-waste).
Luckily, it's not all destiny. On the positive side, DEFRA has called on the government to include compulsory collection of food waste in the forthcoming resource and waste strategy, as the recycling rate in England has unfortunately slowed down in recent years. Recently, a food reduction pilot project was announced in the UK, the first of which was launched in January of this year. A total of £ 15 million has been made available to help charities distribute surplus food to those who need it.
State Secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, commented: "Nobody wants good food wasted. It harms our environment, it's bad for business – and it's morally untenable. "
According to Rethink Food Waste, educating people about food waste could prevent 2.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – an astonishing number that would make a big difference and help create much-needed recovery on our planet.
READ MORE: Shabby, sad and in need of a facelift
READ MORE: The truth behind our mysterious Dachshunds
In a society where excess, convenience and speed are more and more in the foreground for consumers, small, thought-out choices we make can have a much wider impact.
Personally, I've started to be aware of just buying what I need, not freezing frozen food and getting creative with leftovers. These are measures that we can easily implement every day and help us make a contribution to the environment. And I tell everyone I know and everyone who will listen because consciousness is everything. There is no planet B, and it sits with us to take care of us.
More from cagoxfordshire.org.uk
Telsha Arora is a media and campaign manager for the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust