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Rot (food waste & composting)

The impact of food waste

Food waste contributes 8-10% of total man-made greenhouse gas emissions (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and global food systems contribute 30% (according to WRAP).

If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter after China and the USA.


Food waste occurs at all stages of the growing, selling, cooking and eating process but in the UK 70% of food waste comes from our homes. 


Emissions from the total food waste in the UK is equivalent to 10 million cars on the road.


According to Shrewsbury Food Hub, food waste costs the average UK family £700 a year.

Domestic Waste Bin
food waste pyramid
How to manage food waste

Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions both directly (for example as methane emissions from landfill sites where food is decomposing) and indirectly, since waste implies that for a given level of consumption more food needs to be produced than is actually being consumed.


Shropshire residents produce an average of 486kg of waste per person per year (Shropshire Council, 2020).


Data from Herefordshire Council (2019) showed that:


  • 37% of all household waste is food and drink (1.9kg/household/wk).

  • 59% of food waste was of a home-compostable type (1.1kg/hh/wk).

  • Just under a quarter (23%) of the home-compostable food disposed of was within its original packaging.

  • 41% of food waste was non home compostable (0.7kg/hh/wk).

  • Over half (53%) of the non-compostable food waste was still in its original packaging.

  • On average 35% of all discarded food waste (0.65 kg/hh/wk) was still within its original packaging.

The Food Waste Hierarchy diagram shows what steps we can take, and in what order, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

Actions you can take


The first step to prevent food waste is don’t buy it if you don’t need it.

Plan your meals: Love Food Hate Waste has tips including portion and shopping planners, food storage guides and recipes for leftovers.

Sign up to Shrewsbury Food Hub’s Taste not Waste Challenge to reduce your own food waste and save money at the same time.

Visit your local Food Share or community fridges/freezers where organisations collect surplus food from shops, manufacturers and farms to share with local communities:

Check out Shropshire Good Food Partnership’s website for guides on how to preserve food, set up a gleaning network and more

Organic Compost

The final thing to do with food waste is to compost it!   Use the Garden Organic 'how to make compost' link below to check what food waste can go into your compost bin.


According to Garden Organic each home compost bin saves 150 kg of waste from having to be transported away and saves you money if you use the compost to grow your own food in your garden.


Action you can take

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