Oddbox has applied to the United Nations to attain membership status for a ‘newly founded country’ called Wasteland – a move aimed at highlighting that if food waste were a country it would be the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Oddbox says the application is designed to make people ‘sit up and understand’ the role that food waste has to play on climate change, bringing to life the ‘ugly truth’ that if food waste were a country it would be the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, only after China and the US.
If real, the landmass of Wasteland would measure 6.3 million km² in size. It is bigger than the entire European Union, nearly double the size of India and more than twenty-six times the size of the UK.
If a tractor set off to drive around the perimeter today, it would complete its journey in 2061, Oddbox says.
The initiative comes as new research for Oddbox reveals that while 67% of UK adults are concerned about the future of our planet, less than half are unaware of the impact food waste has on climate change.
Food waste is a problem at every stage of the supply chain, from farm to fork.
It says the findings also indicated that only 17% of Brits are aware that 40% of all food grown is wasted across the stages of the supply chain, from farms, to restaurants and retailers, and in the home.
One in six (16%) admit to throwing away food on a near daily basis.
Yet food waste creates 5 million metric tonnes of CO2e annually; 8-10% of all global emissions and more than the total emissions of the European Union. These emissions come from the equivalent of 2.5 billion tonnes of uneaten food. Emissions are created at each stage from production, processing, transporting and cooking, right through to decomposition.
Oddbox has taken on the role of lead spokesperson of Wasteland and if the country’s letter of application to become a UN member state is successful, Oddbox says it would use its seat at the table to call on world leaders to help achieve four key aims in pursuit of halving food waste by 2030, addressing issues at every stage of the food supply chain:
- Educate all on the impact of food waste on climate change
- End retailer rejection of produce based on shape & colour; only 21% of UK adults say that they’d shun fruit and veg that looked ‘odd’
- Encourage retailers to stock what’s been grown and allow people to embrace the joy of eating what’s on ‘nature’s menu
- Measure & report on food waste across the supply chain, including at farm level; only 3% of UK adults are aware that farms generate the biggest amount of food waste globally and almost a third (32%) believe that supermarkets and retail are the most problematic.
The brand is also calling on Alok Sharma to put food waste and its impact on climate change on the agenda at COP26 in November.
As it stands, food waste is not on the agenda for leaders, despite it being identified as the number one issue to tackle in order to stop the planet getting 2 degrees warmer by 2100. Four-in-five UK adults (83%) agree that it should be talked about, and 71% believe the government needs to do more to tackle food waste.
Emilie Vanpoperinghe and Deepak Ravindran, Co-Founder of Oddbox, jointly commented : “Food waste is a problem at every stage of the supply chain, from farm to fork. The Oddbox community of growers, team and subscribers are together making a dent in farm level food waste, having rescued more than 19,500 tonnes of food waste since 2016; the equivalent to how much food over 42,000 people eat in a year.
To give the critical issue of food waste the voice it deserves, we’re asking people to watch and share the story of Wasteland on their social media channels to build the nation’s awareness of the massive impact that food waste is having on our planet
“But with less than half of Brits unaware of the link between food waste and climate change, we want to raise awareness amongst a wider audience so that together, we can wipe Wasteland off the map. Whilst tackling climate change can often feel overwhelming, knowing that each of us can take meaningful action by fighting food waste makes us hopeful.
“To give the critical issue of food waste the voice it deserves, we’re asking people to watch and share the story of Wasteland on their social media channels to build the nation’s awareness of the massive impact that food waste is having on our planet.”
Oddbox is a community powered weekly rescue mission to save delicious, fresh fruit and veg which is deemed “too big”, “too ugly”, the “wrong colour”, or “too many”’ from going to waste. It delivers its boxes directly from the growers to people’s doorsteps across towns and cities in England and Wales.