The environmental impact of food waste
Waste accounts for around 42% of East Ayrshire Council’s carbon footprint and this includes domestic and commercial waste collected and disposed of by the Council. To address this, we need our local businesses and residents to reduce the amount of waste they produce, whilst increasing the percentage of waste that is recycled and diverted from landfill.
When food waste ends up in landfill, it releases methane gas, which is one of the most damaging greenhouse gases. This means food waste is having a significant impact on the climate emergency.
Did you know?
Did you know that:
- in East Ayrshire we currently recycle about 3.5k tonnes of household food waste per year
- in East Ayrshire, 9,866 tonnes of food are sent to landfill each year
- almost 7,000 tonnes, of the food sent to landfill, is edible - with just 30% of food waste being unavoidable
- in our Cleaner Communities review, we analysed the composition of our waste and found that East Ayrshire households throw away approximately 7,000 tonnes of edible food.
- 30% of the weight of the waste in residual (green) waste bins comprised of avoidable or unavoidable food waste - such as out of date/unopened food packets.
- the average family is throwing away £38 of food each month, which is £456 a year
- in some communities, up to 50% of people aren't using their food caddie and are sending all their food waste to landfill
- 30% is avoidable food waste (6,906 tonnes per year) such as out of date/unopened food packets
- through our Climate Change Strategy we are aiming to reduce food waste by 10% each year, for the next five years
Avoiding food waste
Avoiding food waste is the best way to ensure you are not wasting money or resources. The simplest ways of avoiding food waste include:
Planning meals, shopping smart, cooking waste free, using recipes for leftovers and storing food correctly all lead to reducing food waste and saving money. To help with these behaviour changes our Clean Green team have produced an Eco Cook Book containing affordable, climate-friendly recipes suitable for chefs of all abilities.
How to save food
By planning your meals ahead of time, you only buy what you need and what you will eat.
Use your planned shopping list and try not to be tempted by oﬀers that you might not be able to eat and could go to waste. Look for 'Use By' dates on labels.
Check the labels to see if your item needs to be kept in the refrigerator, freezer or cupboard. Storing food correctly will help it last longer.
Cook only what you need. Or save leftover ingredients for another meal.
Food waste campaign
The Scottish Government, in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, has launched a new food waste campaign to:
- increase the number of Scottish households proactively recycling their food waste
- encourage more households to proactively reduce their food waste
- increase the awareness of the environmental and personal benefits of reducing and recycling food waste
- demonstrate the magnitude of food waste sent to landfill and its role in climate change
- to direct people to Scottish Government: Net Zero Scotland for tips on reducing and recycling food waste
Zero Waste Scotland's recycling sorter
Visit the Zero Waste Scotland website and use their online recycling sorter for any local authority in Scotland.
Composting and your bins
Find out about:
Food waste resources