Plastics used in food packaging are a significant contributor to plastic pollution, a serious problem which was documented recently in the Blue Planet II series. In this short clip, Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford explains what he sees as three interrelated causes of plastic pollution: unnecessary food packaging, the use of oxo–degradable bags which create micro–plastics, and the lack of a standardised recycling policy for local councils. Keeping food fresh is important for consumer appeal and avoiding food waste, so although paper packaging may entail higher carbon emissions than plastics, it is our best option.
Gleaning unwanted produce from farms has been a practice for centuries and it is making a comeback in several European countries, according to the Gleaning Network. This BBC clip explains how volunteers help to avoid food waste by harvesting the unwanted produce and sending it to food redistribution charities. This benefits the farmers, by reducing the prevalence of pests, and reduces the environmental impacts […]
Cafes which use the ‘pay as you feel’ concept are springing up across the UK. These cafes collect surplus food from supermarkets and wholesalers and turn this food into meals. Customers can pay for their meal with money or with their time. This BBC clip explains how The Real Junk Food Project aims to tackle the environmental problem of food waste as well as create inclusive social meeting […]
There are now apps and websites which encourage you to reduce the carbon footprint of your diet, such as Part-Time Carnivore and The Climatarian Challenge. They ‘gamify’ the challenge of reducing your “meaty days”. You can set monthly targets to reduce your meat consumption or form teams to compete against each other. It is a fun way to tackle a serious problem!
This week’s Big Issue (issue 1303) has an interesting piece entitled ‘Vertical farms won’t save us…yet’. While several small-scale vertical farms are achieving modest success, larger scale production is still proving difficult despite significant technological advances in recent years. The problem for producers is the cost; set-up and production costs are high, but salad and vegetables are […]
This interesting article in Fresh Produce Journal discusses the current situation regarding food waste in the UK. Despite a lot of media and public attention to this issue in recent years, the UK still only rescues less than 10% of its surplus food. A lot of food is sent to anaerobic digesters to produce energy, which is of course better than sending it to landfill. However, food […]
3.5 million people in the UK now eat a plant-based diet, according to a poll by Professor Carolyn Roberts and comparethemarket.com. This is around 7% of the population, which is a surprisingly high proportion and a significant increase in numbers compared to research conducted by The Vegan Society in 2016. The desire to combat climate change appears to be an important motivation in changing consumer behaviour.
‘Cultured meat’ may be coming to a supermarket near you within the next few years! In an effort to de-couple meat production from its negative environmental impacts, a number of US companies are attempting to produce beef and chicken in bioreactors. If that isn’t sci-fi enough for you, the Dutch company ByFlow already has a 3D food printer on the market. But, as this BBC […]
The World Resources Institute estimates that global food waste represents more greenhouse gas emissions than any country in the world except for China and the U.S.! This BBC article introduces four interesting U.K.-based projects which aim to reduce food waste. For instance, you can pick up last minute bargains from cafes or restaurants using the Too Good To Go app. This saves you money and avoids food going in the bin!
A blog by SILCI researcher Mark Wilson, who recently attended the Oxford Real Farming Conference. He discusses some of the consumer-facing innovations that were presented at this year’s conference. Read the full blog here.