First published: 05/06/2023 -

Last updated: 21/03/2024 -

Verified by our Editorial Panel

Reducing food waste

Reducing edible food waste by only buying what you need and using everything you buy saves money and helps you reduce your impact on the environment. So, a little less food waste and a little more composting helps keep our soils healthy, turning your kitchen waste into nutrient rich food for plants. 

Food waste has a huge impact on our environment. The less edible food we throw away, the lower the impact on the environment.

Producing, transporting, storing and managing food waste all have an environmental impact.

When organic waste is buried in landfill it produces methane, a carbon emission linked to climate change, as it can’t decay properly. Composting food waste, such as uncooked food, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells, is much better for the environment.

Reducing waste by correctly storing and using up edible food will also help reduce the carbon impacts of food production and could save you money.

What can we do?

We’re already making good progress.

We’re already making good progress. Total emissions from the waste sector in Wales have declined by 64% between 1990 and 2019. To keep up this momentum, we all need to work together to reduce waste. Here are a few ideas about how to reduce your food waste:  

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Discover more ways to reduce food waste

Make your food go further by storing food properly and using leftovers. Buy only what you need, avoid unnecessary short shelf-life products and use what you’ve bought by batch cooking and freezing.

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Learn how to recycle at home

Once you have eaten what you buy, if you can't compost at home, you can always recycle your inedible food waste. Food which is collected for recycling gets turned into biogas, which is an energy source, or fertiliser. Find out how you can recycle food waste at home or where your nearest home recycling point is.

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Try family friendly recipes

It can be difficult to avoid food waste when you’re a busy parent trying to find food that your children enjoy. Love Food Hate Waste has some easy and fun recipes that you can make with your kids – they’re a great way to use up the food you have in the fridge to avoid waste. 

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Donate unwanted food

You can donate food you don’t need to local food banks. Some supermarkets have points where you can do this, or you can search for food banks near you. Alternatively, try a local sharing app like Olio, or another redistribution group. To access local surplus food, charities and community groups can sign up for organisations like FareShare Go or Neighbourly.  

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Research composting

If you have a garden, you can set up a composting system. The Royal Horticultural Society has a good how-to guide to get you started. If that’s not an option, you can try indoor composting systems such as bokashi composting or worm composting. Alternatively, you can compost together with friends and neighbours who have a garden.  

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Find out about compost ingredients

Not all food waste items can go to your composting bin. Find out more about what you can and can’t compost. 

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Reduce smells

Keep compostable food waste out of household bins or landfill to avoid unpleasant smells.

Why take action?

Together we can reduce the amount of edible food that is thrown away, which will help:  


Save money

Only buy the food you need, use up leftovers and reduce edible food waste being thrown away by either recycling or composting. This saves money as you’re buying less food. 

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Protect our planet’s resources

When you throw food away, you’re wasting the resources used to grow, produce, package and transport it. Cutting your food waste can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 300 kilograms of CO2e a year – that’s the equivalent of a car driving 769 miles.

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Improve soil health

Home composting produces a natural, chemical-free source of plant food that can improve the texture and nutritional quality of soil. It also saves on chemical fertilisers and pesticides that can be expensive and harmful to the environment. 

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Reduce smells

It’s also important to keep compostable food waste out of household bins or landfill to avoid the unpleasant smell it can produce.

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