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More water awareness needed (6 Sept 2012)

New research3 from Love Food Hate Waste shows that while over half of us are taking measures to reduce the amount of water used in our homes, more than three quarters are surprised at the proportion of water used in the products and food we buy4.

Love Food Hate Waste’s survey highlights that the current awareness amongst consumers of the level of water needed is startlingly low with:

• 97%5 unaware that around 1,200 litres of water are used to produce a loaf of bread (800g)
• 98% unaware that around 650 litres of water are used to produce one chicken breast (150g)
•    It takes around 100 buckets1 of water2 to produce a loaf of bread (800g)
•    It takes around 54 buckets of water to produce one chicken breast (150g)
•    It takes around six buckets of water to produce one potato (75g)
•    It takes around one bucket of water to grow one tomato (50g)

Or that for every glass of milk6 we drink in Merseyside and Halton it takes over 250 litres of water to produce it.

For many this might seem inconceivable. However, when you look at the journey your food has gone through to be produced you can see why.

Take the humble chip; water is used by the farmer when he plants the seed potato, fertilises it, and during irrigation to help the crop grow. More water is then used in the factory where it’s cleaned and chipped and yet more to make the packaging to keep it in good condition, and finally in the freezer. That is a lot of water, time and energy spent in producing the product. If we then cook more than is needed, or throw the leftovers in the bin, that’s a waste of the food, the water and your money.

Not surprisingly, Love Food Hate Waste research shows that saving money is what motivates us most when it comes to wasting less food7. This autumn harvest time, Love Food Hate Waste is encouraging us to realise the value of our food, and benefit the environment and save money for our families.

Locally, the Merseyside and Halton Waste partnership (made up of Merseyside recycling and Waste Authority, plus the Merseyside and Halton district Councils) acts as coordinator for the Love Food Hate Waste project. Councillor Joe DeAsha, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “Regardless of whether food comes from a local supermarket, an allotment or a friend’s apple tree, we really need to value it, because it costs money and precious resources to buy or produce it.”

Emma Marsh, Head of Love Food Hate Waste, said: “The key thing here is to just buy and cook the food that is needed: throwing food or drink away is bad for our wallets and the environment. If you do have any spare harvest from your garden, it might be worth thinking about sharing it with family, neighbours and friends.”

For simple tips on hoe valuing food, through planning your meals, following the storage guidance and cooking the right amounts can save you up to £50 per month, visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com.

(ends)

Notes to editors;
(1) Based on B&Q and Vileda general purpose household buckets – 12 litre
(2) All produce water footprint values are sourced from www.waterfootprint.org; global average figures used, and then converted to appropriate food volume
(3) http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/new-report-highlights-water-and-carbon-impact-wasted-food
(4) Omnibus survey, 4,148 UK consumers, Jun ‘12
(5) The percentage of people who didn’t realise the amounts of water needed to produce some of our favourite foods were:
97% didn’t know that around 1,200 litres of water are used to produce a loaf of