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Interactive Calculator Reveals True Cost of the Food We Waste

Image credit: Nick Saltmarsh/Flickr 

We’ve all occasionally bought too much or waited too long to eat our fresh fruit and veg, but what is the true impact of the food we throw away?

UK food tech company It’s Fresh! has launched a food waste calculator to enable consumers to understand the true cost of the fruit and vegetables they discard.

According to the UK government’s latest statistics, the Brits bin a staggering £13bn worth of food a year; here in the States, an estimated 52 million tons of food are wasted each year. And in most developed countries, over half of all food waste takes place in the home; according to WRAP, the average UK household £700 per year. The It’s Fresh! calculator enables consumers to see the impact of their waste, both in terms of damage to the environment and cost to them personally.

Users can enter how often they buy fresh fruit and vegetables and estimate how much of this ends up in the trash. The interactive tool then calculates the environmental impact as well as financial cost to the consumer. See table below for sample calculations:

It’s Fresh! founder Simon Lee says: “We are proud to launch this calculator to help consumers understand more about the precious resources that go into the food we eat — and waste. When you throw food away, you’re not just wasting the food itself, but all the time, energy, water, labor and materials used to grow, transport and store it. We hope that the calculator will bring this important issue to life for consumers, and help everyone better understand that when we waste food, we waste everything.”

It’s Fresh! is harnessing pioneering technology to help reduce global food waste. It has developed a stamp-sized filter designed to absorb ethylene — the ripening hormone released by fruits and some vegetables. This filter can increase the shelf life of fresh produce by up to four days and is already being used by leading UK supermarkets including Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. It’s Fresh! is currently engaged in over 50 active trials across 20 countries, working to reduce supply chain waste. Earlier this year, the company conducted independent trials that can increase the transit life of bananas by up to 70 days.

Tessa Clarke, co-founder of food-sharing app OLIO — which is supporting It’s Fresh! in its fight against food waste — says: “We believe that small actions can lead to big change. Collectively, we can build a more sustainable future where our most precious resources are shared, not thrown away. The food waste calculator is a great way for all of us to get a better understanding of the implications of throwing away unwanted food. It’s easy to forget that little things add up and we’re now looking at a big problem that needs a collective effort to make real change.”


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