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Hedgehog Company partner of “Verspillingsvrije week 2023”

We are proud to be partner to the Dutch week against food waste. Because food waste has a huge environmental impact and minimising food waste is a great step towards sustainability. We used this week to share insights about the “hidden impact” of food waste.

Every year in September, there is a national Dutch week to raise awareness around food waste. We are proud to be a partner to this beautiful initiative; because food waste has a huge environmental impact. And reducing the amount of food waste is a simple and effective step towards sustainability. We used this week to share insights about the “hidden impact” of foodwaste. 

Magnitude of the problem

We better dive into food waste, since we Dutchies, on average, throw away yearly 33 kilos of food. Summing up to 17 million x 33 kilo =561 million kg’s in total.

561 million kilos of food waste sounds like a lot. And it is a lot.

This amount equals:

  • 1254 Boeing 747-8 airplane (1 Boeing is 447 700 kg)
  • 20 035 commercial shipping containers (1 container is 28 000 kg)
  • 112 200 adult African Elephants (1 Elephant weights 5000 kg)

And this is just the food thrown away at home, by individuals. When we consider food waste over the whole Dutch food supply chain (incl. farm, distribution, transport etc.), total annual food waste per inhabitant sums up to a shocking 97-123 kg.

Every food item wasted has an impact 

All this food consumes energy: to be produced, packaged, transported, cooled, cooked, stored etc. And what to think about all the land and water used to grow our ingredients?

Conclusion: the environmental impact of food is high. 

And when you throw away food, you indirectly waste this energy, land and water as well. 
So, food waste comes with a huge environmental price tag and reducing food waste can contribute massively to reducing climate change.

We know, no one likes this banana, that turns up completely brown from somewhere deep down in your backpack. What to do with it, do you throw it in the bin? But, did you know that by throwing it away, you also indirectly ‘waste’ an environmental impact of 0.11 KG CO₂-equivalent and 12.7 liter water? Because this impact was already made, now for nothing.

And when you throw away 1 banana, each week, this already sums up to 5.90 KG CO₂-equivalent and 658.9 Liter water over a whole year. This equals the impact of around 30 KM car-drive or 110 minutes showering.

Visual communicating impact of food waste
Impact of food waste: banana & tomato

Or let's look at the impact of throwing away 1 slice of bread. This seems like a small action, that you do without thinking too much about it. But, while doing it, you ‘waste’ 0.04 KG CO₂-equivalent and 0.6 Liter water.

And imagine, you doing this once a week, over the time period of 1 year. And you are not the only one doing so, but all the people living in the Netherlands (17 million).
Then the environmental impact would count up to 35 million KG CO₂-equivalent.
To put this in perspective: this is the same impact as 1 car driving +- 2800 times (!) around the globe.

Impact of food waste visualised
Impact of food waste: bread & milk

So, when you are about to throw away some food; consider the impact you are having while doing so. And let's reconsider the options of saving the food. Is there another recipe you can make with the specific food?


No food wasted, by any Hedgehog, this week. That is the aim.

For this, we made our lunch today with some special ingredients: 

  • Colleagues brought their left-overs from home.
  • We organised a little food-swop; you-cook-with-products-I-don’t-want-anymore. We saw some very happy faces about this re-distributing of food items!
  • We ordered “eetmaatjes” (measuring tools) and fridge stickers with instructions for the right way to store your food. Because did you know, that how you store your food can influence the shelf life massively?

Our mantra, “you can’t manage, what you don't measure” is also applicable to the kitchen. And food waste can be minimised by cooking just the exact quantities you need. So let’s measure that pasta, couscous and rice, and may less food be wasted!

And the left-overs from the left-overs? We keep the food-swop available until all the food is saved!

Food swap at our office
Food swop to minimise food waste

Get more insights in the impact of food items wasted
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This article is written by:
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