This report provides estimates of the quantity and types of food and drink waste generated by households Northern Ireland (NI) in 2021/22. The report also looks at the reasons for discarding, the financial cost, and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to wasted food.

Why are these findings important?

Wasted food contributes to global climate change and is associated with 8-10% of humanity's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In the UK, research suggests that 60% of all food waste comes from households, making it a key action area for reducing food waste and its associated environmental impacts.

How much household food waste is generated?

In total (edible and inedible parts) 164,000 tonnes of household food waste was generated in NI in 2021/22. On average, this is 86kg per person for that year or 210 kg per household.

What are the environmental impacts of household food waste?

The greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) associated with wasted food and drink (i.e., edible parts) in NI accounted for approximately 450,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021/22.

How much does throwing this food away cost us?

The total financial cost of wasted food and drink to householders in NI in 2021/22 was £442 million or £230 per person or £570 per average household.

What are the main reasons for food waste?

The largest reason for discarding, by both weight and cost, was due to cooking, preparing, or serving too much, accounting for an estimated 29 thousand tonnes of food waste or £130 million per year. This implies that behaviour change campaigns related to portion sizes and effective management of leftovers could serve as an effective way to reduce food waste.

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  • Household Food and Drink Waste in Northern Ireland - 2021-22

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