COP26: Scottish photographer Rankin puts focus on food waste ahead of climate summit in Glasgow

He’s better known for his portraits of celebrities including David Bowie, Madonna and Kate Moss – but now world-renowned Scottish photographer Rankin is turning his lens on the impact food waste has on the planet.

Rankin photographing food waste to highlight the environmental impact of sending this to landfill.
Rankin photographing food waste to highlight the environmental impact of sending this to landfill.

The Paisley-born snapper has released a new series of pictures showing leftover produce fashioned into the shape of bottles.

Rankin, 55, and his team including used items included pancakes, cucumbers, strawberries and loaves of bread for the images – which were taken to highlighted the damaging impact food waste can have on climate change.

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Sending one kilogram of leftover food to landfill produces the same amount of carbon emissions as doing this for 25,000 500ml plastic bottles.

An image taken by photographer Rankin of food waste to highlight the environmental impact of sending this to landfill.

But with 86% of Scots unaware of impact failing to correctly dispose of leftover food can have on the planet, Rankin released the new series of images in a bid to boost awareness of the issue.

The photographs, released ahead of the global COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, show food waste which has been formed into bottles.

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Rankin stated: “Like many people, I had no idea that food waste is a bigger contributor to climate change than plastic. It’s quite literally feeding an epidemic that’s killing our planet.

“It’s time we viewed food waste through the same, if not a more dangerous lens, than single-use plastics.”

He added: “Shooting the plastic bottles out of food waste is my way of bringing this misconception into focus, especially when the solution is simple – just reduce the amount of food you throw away.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “The sea change in attitudes to plastic over the last few years has been one of the most dramatic shifts in public consciousness around the environment we’ve ever seen. The same shift now needs to happen for food waste.

“Our research shows that most Scots think they are doing what they can for climate change, but the majority are unaware of the massive impact of food waste.

“We know people want to do their bit for the environment so our message is this – the easiest way you can fight climate change is by reducing the amount of food you waste. It’s as simple as that.”

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