Green food choices

First published: 21/06/2023 -

Last updated: 12/06/2024 -

Verified by our Editorial Panel

A little more healthy and sustainable food in our diet and a little less waste is great for our body, mind and planet – and can save us money too.

Globally, food waste contributes 8-10% of harmful carbon emissions. In Wales, the aim is to halve our avoidable food waste by 2025. To do this, we all need to work together, buying only the food we need, using up any leftovers and composting or recycling waste

The extreme weather caused by climate change could impact soil health, and droughts and flooding could affect food safety. This is another reason we need to make the most of our food and buy locally where we can.  

The Welsh Government is committed to making green choices easier, more affordable and more convenient, and prioritising support where it is needed most. For advice and support to help you with the increased cost of living see

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What can we do?

What steps can we take to eat more healthily and reduce our carbon emissions by minimising food waste?

Why take action?

The aim is for Wales to be a zero-waste nation by 2050. By making green food choices, we can all do our bit to get there. Other benefits of healthy and sustainable eating include:


Save money

Throwing food away is a waste of money, as well as the resources used to make and transport it. Storing food correctly, freezing food, batch cooking, using up leftovers and only buying what you need means you don’t need to spend as much on the weekly shop.

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Keep healthy

By following the Eatwell guide, you’ll be eating a balanced and nutritious diet that’s good for you, both physically and mentally.

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Reduce packaging

Thinking about what we eat and buying foods with a longer shelf life could mean less plastic packaging, which is often found with shorter shelf-life food. Many major retailers are part of the UK Plastics Pact, which aims to reduce unnecessary single-use plastics, and the Welsh Government has introduced The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill. Working together, we can make a difference.

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Support your local community

Buying local, where you can, means you’re supporting local business and jobs. Why not support your local food partnership working to create local food systems that are good for people and the planet.

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Help support sustainable food businesses

Through buying sustainable local Welsh produce, you can help the Welsh Government work with our food production sector to ensure it is produced in a truly sustainable manner.

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Reduce environmental impact of food

The less edible food we throw away the less impact it has on the environment. Producing, transporting, storing and managing food waste all have an environmental impact. By not throwing away food that could have been eaten, we will help reduce the carbon impact of food production.

What is Wales doing?

The Welsh Government and local authorities are already taking action to help us eat more healthily and sustainably, reducing harmful carbon emissions caused by food waste. These include: 

  • Collecting food waste 

    All local authorities in Wales collect food waste weekly. The majority is treated at anaerobic digestion (AD) units and turned into biogas (which can be used to produce electricity) and fertiliser 

  • Promoting healthy portions 

    The Welsh Government recommends following the NHS Eatwell Guide which helps us make balanced food choices. It shows us how much of what we eat should come from each food group.  

  • Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales 

    The Welsh Government’s 10-year Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy aims to make the healthier choice the easy choice for all of us to make positive lifestyle choices to sustain or maintain a healthy weight. It’s a group effort, involving workplaces, advertising, the NHS, childcare, schools, political leaders and us and our families. 

  • Sustainable Food Toolkit 

    The Sustainable Food Toolkit, created in collaboration with eco-chef Tom Hunt, is full of tips to get more out of your food and budget – including ‘waste not’ recipe ideas. 

  • Working with farmers 

    The Welsh Government is working with farmers through the Sustainable Farming scheme to support them to manage their land in a more sustainable way, adopt low carbon technologies, reduce emissions and promote biodiversity within our rural communities.  

  • Sustainable seafood 

    The Welsh National Marine Plan sets out how we will keep our seas clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse. 

    The Joint Fisheries Statement 2022 is a plan for how everyone in the fishing industry will work together to make sure fishing is sustainable and helps keep the marine environment healthy, so it will not be too badly affected by climate change. 

    The government is also putting plans in place to collect and recycle old fishing gear in Wales, to prevent this ending up in the sea. 

  • Improve the recycling of packaging.  

    The Beyond Recycling Strategy introduced an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme to ensure producers bear the full end of life costs of their packaging and meet packaging recycling targets set for Wales. This will include labelling to make it easier for people to understand what can and can’t be recycled. Reducing edible food waste and increasing the recycling of inedible food can also reduce the impact of food on greenhouse gases.   

  • Reducing greenhouse gases 

    Reducing edible food waste and increasing the recycling of inedible food can reduce the impact of food on greenhouse gases.


More information 

Click one of the links below for more information on healthy food, sustainable eating and reducing packaging. 

For further support or advice call

0300 0604400

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