Throwing food away sends world’s scarce water gushing down the plughole
Britons bin millions of tonnes of food each year – a crime compounded by the waste of all the water used to grow it
Oranges rotting on a London market stall. Wasting food leads to the waste of huge quantities of water. Photograph: Martin Godwin
As consumers throw millions of tonnes of uneaten food into the bin each year, few give a thought to the hidden cost of such waste – the water that it took to grow the food.
But new research shows that we throw away, on average, twice as much water per year in the form of uneaten food as we use for washing and drinking.
What is worse, increasing amounts of our food comes from countries where water is scarce, meaning the food we discard has a huge hidden impact on the depletion of valuable water resources across the world.
According to the first comprehensive study into the impact of the “embedded water” in the UK’s food waste on world water supplies, more than a 5% of the water used by the UK is thrown away in the form of uneaten food.