Keep COP26 in mind in the kitchen this Christmas

16 December 2021

Scottish Water is urging customers to build on the momentum gained at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow and play a part in cutting carbon emissions from food waste this Christmas.

Around 67 million meals go to waste in Scotland every December with 84 per cent of Scottish households having leftover food from Christmas Day.

Scottish Water Horizons operates Scotland’s first large-scale food waste recycling facility near Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire.

The plant uses anaerobic digestion – a process which uses bacteria to break down organic waste – to turn thousands of tonnes of wasted food into green energy every year.

Graphical image outlining the amount of food waste recycled by Scottish Water Horizons

Colin Lindsay, Operations Manager at Scottish Water Horizons said:

“The tendency at this time of year is to overdo everything – and that includes shopping for lunch on the big day.

“But when you consider the environmental cost of wasted food, it more than doubles when emissions from growing, processing and cooking it are also taken into account.

“With a serving of Christmas dinner producing the same amount of carbon as boiling a kettle 100 times, you can imagine how much can be saved if we buy only what we need.”

Around one million tonnes of food are thrown away in Scotland each year.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive at Zero Waste Scotland, said the amount of food wasted in Scotland is alarming but avoidable by responsibly recycling what we cannot reduce:

“Following COP26, we’re thrilled to see an even bigger surge of people who want to be more conscientious and food waste reduction is a great, and easy, place to start.

“It really is simple: by tackling the issue of overconsumption, only buying what you need this festive season, and recycling what you can’t use, you’ll limit carbon emissions and help usher in a more sustainable future for Scotland and the world.”

Since Scottish Water Horizons’ food waste recycling facility opened in 2010, it has processed around 300,000 tonnes of food waste, saving 169,000 tonnes of carbon – the equivalent to driving over six million miles in an average sized car.

The green energy generated – 48.3GWh of power to date – is the same amount needed to power over 13,000 family homes every year.

Scottish Water was a proud participant at the recent COP 26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow.

As Scotland’s public water and waste water provider, protecting and enhancing the environment is a priority. Scottish Water has already committed to work towards being Net Zero by 2040 – five years ahead of Scotland’s national targets.

As well as transforming the delivery of key services, Scottish Water works with a wide range of partners to contribute towards wider carbon reductions.

Share this page: