While the environmental costs of what we eat and drink should partly be borne by consumers, manufacturers also have an effect on the environment. However, things could be changing. The food and drink manufacturing industry, particularly Coca Cola in Wakefield, has been praised by the Chairman of the Environment Agency for trying to reduce its impact on the environment. Here we look at what the industry is doing and how smaller producers and consumers can also do more.
What Is the Food and Drink Industry Doing?
Food and drink manufacturers are determined to reduce their impact on the environment in several ways, including reducing waste, cutting their carbon footprint and reducing their water consumption. These are part of a Five Fold Environmental Ambition set out by the Food and Drink Federation. The other two pledges are to reduce CO2 emissions and improve packaging design to lessen the environmental impact.
As well as being good for the environment, these pledges can help food manufacturers to cut their costs. In 2011, manufacturers who committed to reducing water consumption saved £1.82 million on the cost of water. Reducing the amount of waste that is being sent to landfill and cutting energy consumption can also save money as well as helping the environment, and the Coca Cola plant in Wakefield has been awarded the ISO 50001 standard for energy management, a first for the food and drink industry.
How Can Smaller Players and Households Help?
It is not just larger manufacturers who can lessen their environmental impact. Small local manufacturers should have a low carbon footprint, but are they thinking about the environment when they buy food machinery? They can help reduce infrastructure waste by buying second-hand food machinery. They can also cut costs by buying Longspan Racking from sites like www.rackzone.ie/pallet-racking/long-span-shelving and storing items on them in date order to stop wastage.
There are also many things that households can do. According to WRAP, it is estimated that UK households generate 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink waste every year. Some of this is considered to be avoidable, and cutting this down would have a significant impact on the environment. Additionally, households can buy locally produced food to reduce their carbon footprint or even grow their own.
Reducing the impact on the environment of our food and drink is something that everyone can do.