In a bold and imaginative campaign, Oddbox has personified the global food waste issue as a fictitious nation named Wasteland, illustrating the staggering fact that if food waste were a country, it would rank as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, trailing only China and the United States.
The concept intended to raise awareness among the public; if Wasteland were real, its vast 6.3 million km² size would eclipse the European Union, nearly doubling India and being over twenty-six times larger than the UK.
Issue of Food Waste in the UK
While the issue of food waste and its role in climate change is apparent to many environmentalists, new research commissioned by Oddbox reveals a concerning lack of public awareness, with less than half of UK adults being aware of the significant impact food waste has on the environment.
Oddbox co-founders Emilie Vanpoperinghe and Deepak Ravindran state: “Food waste is a problem at every stage of the supply chain, from farm to fork.”
Mindful that 40% of all food grown is thrown away and one in six Brits admit to wasting food nearly every day, the scale of the problem seems gargantuan. This wasted food accounts for 5 million metric tonnes of CO2e annually, which is 8-10% of all global emissions and exceeds the total emissions of the European Union.
Oddbox Becomes Lead Spokesperson of Wasteland
To address these issues head-on, Oddbox has set forth its intentions to become the lead spokesperson of Wasteland, on a mission to halve food waste by 2030. Their aims include educating people on food waste’s climate impacts, ending retailer rejection of produce based on shape and colour, encouraging retailers to stock what’s naturally grown, and pushing for better waste measurement and reporting across the entire supply chain.
The company highlights that a mere 3% of UK adults are aware that farms produce the most food waste, and a significant portion (32%) inaccurately believe supermarkets to be the primary culprits. These startling statistics drive Oddbox’s call-to-action for increasing awareness, urging the likes of Alok Sharma to prioritize food waste in the climate change agenda at the COP26 summit.
Leading By Example
The founders remain hopeful and proactive, noting, “Whilst tackling climate change can often feel overwhelming, knowing that each of us can take meaningful action by fighting food waste makes us hopeful.”
Oddbox leads by example through their service, delivering boxes of rescued produce that may be oddly shaped or colored directly from growers to consumers across towns and cities in England and Wales. Since their inception in 2016, they have saved more than 19,500 tonnes of food from waste—enough to feed over 42,000 people for a year.
This initiative calls for a collective effort to acknowledge and combat the massive impact food waste has on our planet.
Oddbox encourages sharing the story of the imaginary Wasteland to amplify the message and eliminate the true wasteland of uneaten food from our reality, fostering a more sustainable and aware society.