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Food Waste Reduction

Our group’s aims are to research all the different parts of the food sector and implement local schemes and initiatives where possible, to reduce food (and food packaging) waste.

Food Waste Facts

  1. Wasted food is responsible for 6-8 % of global greenhouse gas emissions, with 1.3 billion tonnes of fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood and grains being wasted annually.  It is estimated that if food waste was a country it would be the third highest global emitter after China and the US.
  2. Consumer food waste occurs in 3 main areas – the home, supermarkets / food shops and pre-prepared food retail outlets such as catering companies (in schools and hospitals etc.), restaurants, cafés and takeaways.
  3. In the UK, approximately 6.5 million tonnes of food is thrown away annually from homes – 4.5 million of which is actually edible
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Click here to calculate the environmental footprint of your food?

To address food waste in the home, we can:

  • Make smarter lifestyle choices – for example to buy food with less air miles (and packaging) or which is more sustainable – including swapping out certain ingredients in favour of a more sustainable one
  • Grow our own where possible – much healthier, no packaging and you can harvest as needed so cuts down on waste (find out about making your own pot plants too)
  • Educate ourselves to avoid waste – by learning about food storage and preservation, planning meals, using up left overs
  • Think complete fruits and vegetables (and meat)  – since food has become more abundant, we’ve become picky and often discard parts of plants (and animals) which may not be as tender or attractive or take more effort to prepare – often these parts contain the most valuable sources of nutrients too!
  • Eat a less meat filled diet in favour of a more plant based one – this can greatly reduce our food footprint as less land and water is needed for production and it’s generally healthier too
  • Compost what we really cannot avoid wasting – again this cuts down our food footprint as wasted food not efficiently dealt with releases methane – a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide

Why not look for a recipe to use up leftovers rather than throwing them away, click here?

Why not learn how to store your food properly so you can reduce waste at home, click here?

To address food waste in the retail and food production sectors, businesses, local councils and the Government can:

  • Donate food to Food Redirection / Interception schemes – where food gets intercepted and donated to food banks and charities, sold at a reduced price to the general public or simply donated to ‘Community Fridge’ schemes – all usually run by local volunteers
  • Install in house composting – some farms already have their own anaerobic digestion facilities on site and even in restaurants this is possible on a smaller scale
  • Develop cost effective kerb side food waste collections – which is then anaerobically digested preventing greenhouse gases being released (and can be turned into biogas in the process).  This could also increase the ability to recycle more of the contents of black bins if they are not contaminated with food waste.

Useful links for further reading and food redirection/ interception schemes:

Leeds Food Charter

Zero Waste Leeds

Fareshare (Leeds)

The Real Junk Food Project (Leeds based)

Too Good To Go Facebook page (there’s also an app)

Olio: (there’s also an app)

Love Food Hate Waste

Hubbub

Sharewaste (food waste donation/ composting app)

Neighbourly (A giving platform for businesses to donate surplus products to their local communities as well as volunteer time and money)

Winnow (The leading food management solution for contract catering, hotels and casinos, quick service restaurants, supermarkets and cruise ship sectors)

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (which operates as WRAP)

Our group’s current initiatives:

  • (In process) –  Setting up a local Sharewaste-type scheme called the BSWVCGG Hotbinners
  • (In the near future) – Setting up local food redirection scheme working with The Real Junk Food Project
  • (In the distant future) – Setting up of a Food Waste Prevention Hub (Community Fridge) in Boston Spa and/ or Wetherby and other villages

Contact Sara at the Food Waste Reduction Group to find out how you can help