Prince Charles suggests families reduce food waste to cut greenhouse emissions

Heir to British throne describes project in Canada in which families cut food waste by third

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 23: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attends a reception to celebrate UK - Japan partnerships hosted by British Ambassador Paul Madden at the Ambassadors Residence on October 23, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Prince of Wales has said families can cut greenhouse emissions and save money by reducing the amount of food they waste.

In an editorial for the Daily Mirror newspaper, Charles told of a research project where families held a “use-up day” and cut the produce they dumped every week by a third.

Charles is known to follow the practice of using up food and has adopted initiatives to save other resources, including converting his Aston Martin sportscar to run on surplus wine.

He also wrote about his long-term hope that food products on supermarket shelves would feature a “kite mark” that indicates how sustainably they have been produced.

Charles said his foundation was working with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his friend Jimmy Doherty on “Food for the Future”, a new pilot programme teaching children about the cycle of food, from fields to the cooking pot.

“If we can encourage and enable them to see that the food they eat is part of a joined-up system that can either help or hinder the health of the planet, they will be much more able to help turn the situation around to avoid the climate catastrophe towards which we are all hurtling," he wrote.

“For one thing, they will discover that almost overnight they could help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 10 per cent without it costing anything.

"All they need do is make informed choices to help cut the colossal amount of food we waste.

“The annual figure currently stands at 1.3 billion tonnes and more than half of it is thrown away at home, an issue one of the companies backing Food for the Future decided to tackle.”

Charles described the Canadian project where 1,000 families set aside one day a week as a “use-up day” for food destined for the bin.

“To their surprise, the families reduced the amount of food they threw away each week by a staggering – but hugely encouraging – figure: one-third," he wrote.

“That suggests that if every family in Canada did the same, about 250,000 tonnes of food a year could be saved. So imagine the impact in the UK, which is home to nearly 30 million more people than Canada.

“Farmers wouldn’t be under the same pressure to produce quite as much food from our struggling soils, the savings in greenhouse gas emissions would be substantial but, best of all, there is the likelihood of big reductions in people’s weekly shopping bills.”

Updated: September 16th 2021, 12:39 AM