Tackling Food Waste | British Equine Veterinary Association
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Tackling Food Waste

News Sustainability Tips for Practices Sustainability Tips for Everyone
23 Mar 2023 BEVA

If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter after China and the USA. Our Sustainability Working Group tells us more...

Food waste is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Globally 25-30% of total food produced is wasted, wasting significant resources such as land, energy and water and contributing to 8-10% of the total man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s a common misconception that most food is wasted by retailers or during the food production process, but in the UK, 70% of food waste is from households (Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) 2018 report).

Wasting food not only adds unnecessary greenhouse gases to the environment through unnecessary production, storage and transportation, but also is damaging to the environment to dispose of. When disposed of in landfill, food waste releases methane a very potent greenhouse gas.

All veterinary businesses will have some unavoidable food waste, not least tea bags, but many practices will not produce enough food waste to have it specifically collected by a commercial waste disposal company.

Ashbrook Equine Hospital in Cheshire has had an ingenious solution in place since 2020 – a wormery with lots of tiger worms! The wormery can deal with all food waste, including scraps from lunches and cooked food from staff living on site, that would potentially attract rats in a traditional compost heap. The worms turn the food waste into very nutrient-dense compost in approximately three to four months, much quicker than standard composting. Green-fingered team members then use the vermicompost in their own gardens.

You can find all of our sustainability tips here, see what changes you could make to have a big impact.