London's food emits more greenhouse gas than Estonia

Crop-to-mouth carbon footprint from capital's food consumption totals 19 million tonnes a year

Mayor Boris Johnson called on food businesses in London to step up efforts to cut their carbon footprint, after a new report found Londoners' eating habits are responsible for more greenhouse gases each year than the entire national output of Estonia.

From crop to mouth, the consumption of one year's-worth of food in the UK's capital is responsible for nearly 19 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, just topping Estonia's national output in the last calculated year, 2006.

"This report shows there are massive opportunities in London to reduce food waste," said Johnson, "helping to both save ourselves money by throwing away less food and cut climate change emissions."

The report, which was commissioned by the Greater London Authority and the London Development Agency, revealed that while 78 per cent of the food's carbon footprint occurs outside of London in the production and transport of food to the capital, 22 per cent takes place within London, as a result of food storage, preparation and disposal, and consumers travelling to and from shops and restaurants.

It added that carbon dioxide emissions from London's food consumption totalled just over 10 million tonnes with transport, storage and distribution being responsible for a third of that figure, a finding that the report's authors said highlighted the importance of local sourcing.

As well as CO2 the report examined the release of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases used for refrigeration and other industrial processes.

It also estimated that Londoners' throw away a third of the food they buy: London's food waste alone results in some 6.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year - more than the entire national output of Iceland.

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