Food Waste Stories

Click here to go back to the Food Waste Stories homepage.

Food Waste Stories Archive

Food Dates

Monday 22nd February 2016

We all find ourselves staring at food packets from time to time wondering if it has past its best or that it is safe to eat and often the multiple different dates on the packet confuse us even further rather than help.

This confusion is costing us. In the UK we throw away around 3 million tonnes of food and drink to the value of 600 million pounds every year1, before we have even got round to tasting it! This is often down to our confusion over food durability and date labels. Statistics show that simply by making the most of the food that we have already bought, the average family could save almost £60 a month2.

so what do these dates mean?

‘use by’

These are the most important dates on your food and they refer to the safety of the product. Food can be eaten up to and including this date but not after, even if it looks and smells fine. Products that have Use by dates include things like meat and poultry which can cause food poisoning if consumed after expiration. Use by dates are required by law and it is illegal for a shop to sell products if their use by dates have expired.

‘best before’

These dates refer to quality not safety. If the product is stored according to its packaged guidelines it should still be at its best up to and including its best before date. These products should be safe to eat after their best before date but may not be at their best in terms of taste, texture, aroma and appearance. Products such as bread or vegetables will often have best before dates. Again, best before dates are a legal requirement for most food but shops can still sell food after this date provided it meets legal food safety requirements.

‘display until’ and ‘sell by’

These dates are the source of much confusion. They are for the shop staff not for the consumers or shoppers. Unlike the other dates above, display until or sell by dates are not a legal requirement and many organisations such as WRAP have called for these to be removed in the hope that a simplified system might reduce the confusion and in turn food waste.

In order to extend the life of your food it is important to be aware of these dates and use them to your advantage.

-       Always rotate your food, consuming the oldest items first.

-       Freeze items before use by dates and simply defrost and consume them as required.

-       Store your items correctly making sure that they are fresh for the maximum amount of time possible.

By understanding what these dates mean and how we should use them, we can get them to work for us, we can eat safely and also save a few pounds in the process.

read more and comment...

What is the Circular Economy?

Tuesday 26th January 2016

The term ‘circular economy’ is being used a lot now, but what exactly does it mean? The idea of an economy being circular is a fairly new one, and perhaps the best way to explain exactly what we mean by circular economy is to compare it to our current linear economy.

In a linear economy, we take resources from the planet, turn them into products and then we dispose of these products after use.  This may seem an efficient way to operate, but when you consider how scarce many of our finite natural resources are, you begin to see just how irresponsible and unsustainable the linear approach is.

So, let’s think circular. A circular economy is an alternative to our current strategy of take, make and dispose. The idea is that we ‘close the loop’ keeping resources in use for as long as possible. We extract the maximum that we can from them while they are still in use and then recover and regenerate all feasible materials at the end of product life.


This circular approach is a potential solution to the planet’s emerging resource shortages. The circular economy goes beyond recycling, meaning products will be designed with end of life disposal in mind. Every aspect of a product’s conception and construction will be designed to be able to be broken down, reused and recovered at the end of the products life. At the moment, as much as 90% of the raw materials used to manufacture a product are destined to become waste. The goal with the circular economy is not just to design for better end of life recovery but also to minimise energy use.

Forget the environment for a second. Financially, the circular economy makes sense too. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, shifting towards circularity could add $1 trillion to the global economy by 2025 and create 100,000 jobs over the next five years, with manufacturers being the first to benefit as their reliance on expensive finite materials would be reduced.

The way in which we operate as consumers is set to change too under a circular economy. Imagine we didn’t buy goods but we entered into contracts with manufacturers much like we do our mobile phones. We would rent out our washing machines, cars or even clothes from the manufacturer and then when we were finished using their products they would be collected, again by the manufacturer for reprocessing. Thisway valuable raw materials would never be lost, they would be responsibly broken down only to rise again as a new product.

The EU has realised that the circular approach offers an opportunity to reinvent our economy, making it more sustainable and competitive. To reflect this, they released ‘The Circular Economy Package’ on the 2nd December 2015 designed to help businesses and consumers’ make the transition to a stronger more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way.

The circular economy is a highly ambitious concept and it is clear going forward that we as consumers will have to drastically change the way we make purchases, view waste and think about the way we manufacture products as a whole. But, who among us can really argue with the idea of an economy in which materials are efficiently managed and recycled, is run on renewable energy and has little or no negative effects on human life or the ecosystem?

Images sourced at.

read more and comment...

freeze it!

Thursday 2nd July 2015

read more and comment...

food waste network in action

Tuesday 30th June 2015

Recently the Soho Theatre’s reached out to us in hopes to gain a little more information on how to eliminate the food waste produced from their upcoming production. Soho Theatre performed, “The Harvest” which takes place in an orchard. The set displayed an ‘extraordinary rig of green apples’ containing roughly 50-70 Bramley apples, which were replaced at the end of each day. From this amount of apples being used, the theatre's Green Team realized composting the acidic apples couldn’t be the only solution and desired to ensure that not even a single apple went to waste at the end of the day; a feat that we were more than willing to support in any way we could.

Through a few emails back and forth, we were able to help advise them on different venues to send their unused apples. Many local farms are more than willing to accept unused fruits and vegetables as feed for their animals. Another venue for unused fruit is Rubies in the Rubble, a small company that takes surplus or unwanted fruits and vegetables and turns them into jams and chutney.  Every region has a variety of companies that accept surplus, unused, or nearly spoiled food to turn into meals for those in need. Ultimately, working together, we could be sure that every apple would be invested wisely.

Beyond composting a handful of the apples, suitcases were delivered to Police Horses, Vauxhall City Farm, and FanShen Theatre Company. With only a fifteen minute walk separating the theatre from the Great Scotland Yard stables, a large sum of apples were delivered to Police Horses, even Grace, who led the procession at the Royal Wedding. Offering up free time, staff wheeled suitcases off to Vauxhall City Farm to deliver sweet treats to the goats, pigs, and horses stabled at the Farm. Lastly, the FanShen Theatre Company had a production called “The Apple Cart”. Team members from their theatre picked up a rucksack full of apples to sustainably use at their performances that toured around in the south.

Overall, it is a sweet success to hear that through collaborative efforts, zero waste can be achieved in all venues around the UK. If you ever have events or productions that produce any amount of food waste, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are more than willing to provide information and contacts to help you rest well knowing every ounce of food has been used and diverted from landfills.

For more information on the sustainability efforts at Soho Theatre:

read more and comment...

'Ugly' Fruit in France

Monday 22nd June 2015

With around forty percent of all fruit and vegetables being throwing away based on their physical appearance, France has decided to counteract this habit. The third largest grocery chain in France, Intermarché, has placed an initiative to reduce food waste by selling misshapen produce for a 30 per cent discount. The produce was placed in their own aisle, with proper signage to advertise to the customers about their quality in taste, but reduction in price.


We naturally, not only eat with our stomach, but with our eyes which caused initial hesitation when the initiative was first introduced. Customers were unsure of the taste and reliability of the produce because of being deemed at eyesores. The supermarket decided, in order to help sales, to turn the produce into juices and soups for customers to sample to prove their flavor was just as delicious as their pristine counterpart.


The results were hugely successful and all of the stock was sold out in the initial rush. Beyond selling all the ‘ugly’ produce, the grocery store noticed a twenty-four percent increase in overall traffic among their locations. Encouraged by the success of the trial runs, Intermarché will be launching the initiative in all 1,800 of their locations across the country. In general, the “government-sponsored day of action against food waste” is scheduled to happen during the same time as the Intermarché initiative.




















As Intermarché took a stand on preventing food waste, other French supermarket chains, such as, Auchan and Monoprix are following in their footsteps. Additionally, in Britain a growing number of outlets are starting to stock “aesthetically challenged” produce.  

To read more visit: ////


read more and comment...

the real junk food project

Tuesday 9th June 2015

The Real Junk Food Project, founded on 22 February 2013, is a collaborative effort between volunteers and catering professionals to obtain edible food that would be, otherwise, thrown away and never reach a plate. A small desire for change has created cafes that try to place a new value on food.


Founds and co-directors Adam Smith and Johanna Hewitt started The Real Junk Food project in Melbourne, Australia, with portable barbeques, but it didn’t take long for the first café to open in Leeds. Currently piloting a new café in the Adult Education College in Leicester, the hopes of the workers to officially open at the end of the month stand strong.


Their seventeen cities with cafes around the UK area obtain leftover food thrown away by restaurants, supermarkets, and cafes and create them into delicious meals. The Real Junk Food Project prides on the fact that all the food they obtain and serve would have been destined for a landfill and works on a “Pay-as-you-feel” policy. From the words of Mr. Smith, “Our system transcends monetary transactions and liberates people to use their skills and attributes as well as money to pay for their meals.”


Within the last year, The Real Junk Food Project has intercepted 32 tonnes of food that would have ended up in landfill and created 18138 meals for thousands for hungry customers.


Every café seeks the help of donations and is always in need of surplus and unused food in addition to the volunteers that are the heart of the operation. You can find each of their locations and see how you can get involved at:  

read more and comment...

plan zheroes

Thursday 7th May 2015

Plan Zheroes is a charity on a mission to see food surplus utilised. Since 2011 they have been working tirelessly to connect those with food surplus with charities helping some of the 13 million people living in poverty in the UK today.


Plan Zheroes is the vital link in the chain between those with food surplus and those who can use it best. Their online map is the key to facilitating these positive connections. When a company has food to donate they upload their information to the map. Nearby charities receive a notification telling them of available food and are able to claim it. Volunteers and transporters in the local area can now be part of this to help transport the food.


In 2014 Plan Zheroes partnered with London’s FoodSave/Sustain program, working together they saved 9 tonnes of food surplus in the first 38 weeks, helping to feed 600 people with 22,000 meals.


If you think your business might have food surplus Plan Zheroes could help connect you with a local charity to make a positive difference in the lives of people in your community. Plan Zheroes is here to help streamline and simplify the process of donating food; they can be contacted at

The Plan Zheroes social network is now expanding outside London, in partnership with existing food related networks and pilot schemes being rolled out in Oxfordshire, Liverpool, Wales and Sheffield. If you think your city would benefit from a Plan Zheroes social network and are willing to give your time to help make it happen then get in touch at

read more and comment...

food wastage around the world

Thursday 7th May 2015

read more and comment...

guest blog from Foodcycle

Tuesday 21st April 2015

FoodCycle is a national charity that combines surplus food, volunteers and spare kitchen spaces to create 3,000 meals each month for people at risk of food poverty and/or social isolation.


Our key aim is to reduce food poverty, food waste and social isolation by reclaiming surplus food that would otherwise be wasted, and redirect it back into the community in the form of healthy, tasty, three-course communal meals.

We run over 19 local projects called 'Hubs' and have a Community Cafe in East London that serves affordable and delicious meals. In total, we reclaim over 4,000kg food every month because we simply don't believe that food waste and food poverty should coexist.

After a FoodCycle meal, 73% of guests report eating more fruit and veg, 85% have made new friends, and 87% feel more part of their community.


FoodCycle also has a positive impact on the lives of its volunteers.  Volunteering with projects like FoodCycle doesn’t just give someone the skills to get a job, it also gives them much needed self-confidence too. In 2012-13 68% of our café trainees moved on to employment, and 87% of our Hub Leaders said the skills gained through FoodCycle would help further their career.


With over 900,000 people in the UK using food banks and poor nutrition costing the NHS an estimated £13bn per year the work of charities like FoodCycle is more vital than ever.


If your business has surplus fresh ingredients and produce, or if you’d be interested in partnering with FoodCycle to help us deliver a Hub in your community, please get in touch:

read more and comment...

food waste landfill ban

Thursday 16th April 2015

With the country gearing up for the most uncertain general election in history all eyes are on the big parties’ policies as we decide which way to cast our votes.

A lot of big issues are being discussed, immigration, the NHS and austerity. It is becoming clear that environmental spending is not safe from the sweeping cuts we’ve all been experiencing.

A big issue, which is being overlooked by the big parties, is the future of waste (we prefer the word resource) management. A glaring omission from the manifestos of Labour and the Conservatives is a commitment to ban landfilling of food waste. In fact the only party to make any commitments in this area are the Green party, but even they have not set a date for when this ban would come into force.

Labour did make plans to ban the landfilling of food waste but backtracked when the Conservatives presented an analysis claiming the loss of revenue from landfill tax would be in the hundreds of millions.

It is clear that a more comprehensive analysis of the socio-economic impact of a ban is needed. Taking into account both the costs and benefits; Job creation, alternative energy production, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and a move towards circular economy values.

In a global context this is not new territory, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Austria, Germany and Sweden have all introduced some level of food waste to landfill ban.

When questioned by Labour MP Chris Heaton-Harris DEFRA stated they have ruled out a ban, saying that it would add financial burden to businesses and local authorities. They add that the anaerobic digestion strategy and WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign have been effective at encouraging a shift away from using landfill and towards energy recovery or recycling. This is despite the fact that the most successful countries in terms of recycling rates are also the ones, which have instituted landfill bans.

read more and comment...

good to go

Tuesday 31st March 2015

We're very pleased to hear the announcement from the Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead that the hugely successful doggy bag pilot scheme "Good to Go" has been extended.

More than 1,400 containers were handed out over the 8 week trial which, along with adjustments to portion sizing and menu options, resulted in an average drop in plate waste of 42% at the 16 participating restaurants.

The pilot has shown that when the idea of taking food from a restaurant to finish at home is presented in an attractive and convenient manner diners are more than happy to participate.

Staff reported excellent feedback for the scheme across the board, and the fact that the containers used are completely compostable is another big positive to an excellent scheme. It is estimated that if this scheme were rolled out across Scotland 800,000 full meals could be saved from the bin every year.

To find out more about getting involved in the scheme take a look at this section on Love Food Hate Waste

read more and comment...

think. eat. save.

Thursday 19th March 2015

Guest blog post by Hannah Ashley

Hannah is the Project Support Officer working on the FoodSave programme. She has a keen interest in sustainable food and farming, in particular the long term environmental impact of food production and consumption.

The Mayor of London’s FoodSave programme works with small and medium food businesses across London to provide a support service that helps businesses prevent food waste, divert surplus food to feed people in need and livestock, and recycle unavoidable food waste. The project is based on the principles of food waste hierarchy, and as it is funded by the Mayor of London, European Regional Development Fund and London Waste and Recycling Board the service is free for businesses to use.


Two delivery partners, Sustain and the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), work closely with a number of different food businesses to provide one to one support. Sustain support manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and market traders to help divert their surplus food to either charities or farms. The SRA work with restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs and canteens to reduce their food waste in the first instance.


So far, the programme has been an amazing success. Since November 2013, FoodSave has supported 91 businesses with 27 businesses currently receiving ongoing support:


  • 964 tonnes of food waste is being diverted from landfill annually
  • 83 tonnes of food waste is being prevented annually
  • £366,000 of total cost savings is being made annually


To help reduce food waste in the kitchen, the SRA run a detailed waste audit using a piece of kit called the Winnow Waste Monitor System that is installed into the kitchen. This is an electric scale which is attached to an electronic tablet that records the type, weight and value of the food being thrown away that is configured to match the ingredients and menu costs of the businesses. This provides an insight for kitchen staff to see where their waste is coming from (either the kitchen or front of house) and what type of food it is (salads, meats, mains or starters for example).


Once this food waste is visible, the strategies to reduce food waste are numerous. The SRA work with the catering team to create solutions for reducing food waste in their business. For example, reviewing ordering and stock control, preparation techniques and menu portion size reviews to reduce plate waste, which is often a major contributor to food waste costs.


Café Heath, for example, reduced their portion sizes by using an exact measure with a cup or ladle to portion out sides. In turn they’ve reduced their portion sizes but not overflowing the plates and takeaway containers they use. Another example is The Enterprise, which introduced two portion sizes for their pasta/ravioli and the crab cakes as a result of FoodSave.


The Imperial, which managed to save over three tonnes of food and £10,000 pounds a year, has reduced plate waste by regulating portions and changing items that were often thrown away by customers. Their plate waste, as a result, fell by 54%. Kate MacWhirter, Owner of The Imperial Arms, said: “FoodSave has been an eye-opener and has really helped us identify precisely the areas where we were wasting food and enabled us to come up with solutions.”


By the end of the programme, FoodSave aims to support over 200 businesses and are currently recruiting – please see for more information.

Story originally posted on and researched by


read more and comment...

causa - Peruvian potato salad stacks

Thursday 12th March 2015

As any trendy young thing will tell you, there has been a bit of a growing fashion for Peruvian cuisine over the last couple of years. The trend often focuses on the Andean staple of quinoa or Coastal ceviche. But for our money, the best Peruvian snack is the humble Causa - mashed potato stuffed or layered with zesty salad. It also happens to be a very handy way to use up leftover mashed or boiled potatoes and chicken after a roast. 



Leftover mash! (ideally from yellow potatoes)


Leftover chicken



Lime juice

Diced spring (or red) onions

Hard boiled eggs


Salt and pepper


Mix the chopped spring or red onion, Chicken, lime juice and mayo in a bowl, season and set aside

Flatten out your mashed potato to a roughly even thickness on a baking sheet and use a cookie cutter to stamp out as many rounds as you can get from your leftovers

Put a potato disk on a plate and cover with chopped avocado (seasoned with salt, pepper and lime juice) and top with another disc

Top the second disk with the Chicken salad and tomato and top with another disk

Decorate with sliced hard boiled egg and olives, or whatever you like. If you want to get really Peruvian in your presentation get some ketchup and mayo involved. Variations on presentation and content are practically limitless - go wild!

read more and comment...

Roundtable: Scottish waste regs - one year on

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A year ago, we hosted a roundtable discussion bringing people together from all sides of Scotland's new waste Regs. On 19th March 2015 we are hosting a follow-up discussion, uniting the Scottish waste sector. What are the biggest challenges? What's still to do? What useful lessons should we be sharing with the rest of the UK?

We are pleased to be joined by the key people from Zero Waste Scotland, SEPA, Edinburgh City Council Trade Waste, Levenseat IVC, Changeworks, Mitie CORE, Wm Tracey, Viridor, Growing Forth, REA ORG, and Biffa.

Scotland has been living with the new waste Regs for a year now. What does that mean in practice? All businesses are required by law to recycle the 5 key waste streams, but the big change is in food waste. 

All businesses that have anything to do with food need to introduce separate food waste recycling - currently if they produce over 50kg a week, but in January 2016 that reduces to 5kg per week - essentially any school, cafe, hospital or restaurant filling a caddy a week. Rural postcodes are exempt and NHS sites have until 2016 to comply, but the Regs have seen thousands of businesses changing over to introduce food waste recycling.

Our big aim has always been to drive best practice and encourage zero waste, and this top level industry event is no exception. We'll be sharing the day's conclusions - watch this space.

read more and comment...

Our relaunch and roundtable at Waste-Works 2015

Monday 2nd March 2015

The Food Waste Network, a free service helping any UK business go zero waste, is relaunching at Waste-Works 2015, 22-25th March 2015. This zero waste initiative by eco packaging firm Vegware maps and monitors all UK food waste recycling services – collection routes by postcode, all commercial and industrial processing facilities, and on-site food waste systems. A free online service matchmakes any UK business with its ideal food waste recycling.

With landfill gate fees at £102 compared to £43 for organics, thousands of UK businesses are introducing food waste recycling in a bid to boost sustainability and avoid landfill tax. Furthermore, zero waste legislation in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales requires food businesses to introduce separate food waste recycling.

The Food Waste Network was initiated by Vegware as a way of understanding disposal routes for its compostable packaging, but has widened its remit to understand and advise on all food waste recycling for any business. Assistance can be given on multiple levels, from initial matchmaking to full consultancy. Services include educational resources to demystify recycling, advice on practicalities like effective bin signage, and original research testing zero waste theories in practice. It has been highlighted as one of the most useful resources by the waste management working group of WRAP’s Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement (HaFSA).

Eilidh Brunton, project manager, explains the relaunch: “We started building our knowledge capital and data systems in summer 2012, and we now have the most complete picture of the UK organics sector available. We are marking the relaunch at Waste-Works 2015 with a top level round table discussion on barriers to zero waste in foodservice. We want to facilitate partnerships between the foodservice and waste sectors, and make zero waste achievable for all.” 

The Roundtable discussion ‘Barriers to zero waste in foodservice’ is on Wednesday 25th March, 11:45am-1:00pm, South Gallery, ExCel. Contact for a free place, lunch provided.

The Food Waste Network is on stand S1957 at Waste-Works, part of IFE and Pro2Pac.

read more and comment...

Waste week 2-6 March - are you ready?

Monday 23rd February 2015

Waste Week is an annual event held in schools across the UK to help raise awareness about what we're throwing away.

Waste Week runs from March 2nd to March 6th, so still plenty of time to plan some events and activities to get everyone involved. This years main focus is on food waste, including plastic bottles and packaging. A really important topic as food waste accounts for a third of all landfill waste.

Why not get involved in your school or office, you could hold an event to help educate everyone about reducing they're waste. Or have a competition to revamp your bin signage so it's new and fresh, even a small activity can help remind people to be more thoughtful about what they're throwing away.

For more ideas and to order a campaign pack check out

kids recycling

read more and comment...

Granny Wallace's Scotch Pancakes

Tuesday 17th February 2015

Our Eilidh's Gran kindly made us a batch of her famous pancakes for pancake day today. When we found out the recipe is great for using up milk which is nearly past its best, we couldn't resist sharing it. 

ingredients (makes approx 16)

170g self raising flour

60g sugar

1tsp baking powder

1 egg



Combine all the dry ingedients in a bowl and make a well in the middle. 

Crack the egg into the well and stir to combine. 

Add milk and beat well into a smooth batter, being careful not to make it too runny. 

Heat a flat griddle, or non stick frying pan and grease lightly with some butter. 

Using a tablespoon drop four individual spoons worth of batter onto the pan.

As soon as the batter starts to bubble turn the pancakes over and cook until they are firm to touch. 

Remove the pancakes from the pan and wrap in a teatowel whilst you cook the rest. Then smother in butter and jam...YUM!

read more and comment...

leftover lunch office social

Friday 6th February 2015

Looking for a good activity to promote food waste awareness in your office? Why not try a left over lunch social.

Invite everyone in your office to bring in their Tupperware’s full of tasty left overs, then get together and have a lunchtime buffet. Its a great chance to get a bit of inter-office socialising going on trying each other’s best leftovers. This is a great way of finding out about new recipes, and using up last nights dinner!


Why not give it a go, take some pictures and send them to our twitter at @foodwasteuk

read more and comment...

Food Waste at Home

Monday 19th January 2015

Here are some useful tips on ways to reduce the amount of food waste at home.


Food Waste Diary

Feel like you might be throwing away too much food? Why not keep a diary of what you’re throwing away. This will help highlight which items you’re struggling to make the most of, for instance, if you’re often throwing away bread try freezing half the loaf when you get it, especially if you use it for toast as you can do this from frozen. The Food Waste Diary can also be a record of how much money you could be saving through more savvy food shopping.

Here’s a premade Food Waste Diary from ‘Love Food Hate Waste’:


Consume within 3 daysJuice

How often do you open the fridge to find an open packet which has the words ‘Consume within 3 days’ written on it? How often do you remember when it was you opened it? Or even worse, when someone else opened it? Solve this daily problem by writing on the packet the date you open it, that way you’ll know how long you have left and won’t have any unpleasant surprises in your morning orange juice.


The Freezer is Your Friend

Got a bunch of veg in the fridge threatening to go off? Why not cook it up into a big meal, don’t be afraid to chuck mushrooms, peppers, carrots, courgettes or whatever else you find in there into a shepherds pie or a spaghetti bolognaise, they all add to the flavour and help you get your 5-a-day. Then either invite some friends round for a dinner part to sample your creation, or freeze it in individual portions which you can take to work for a tasty and healthy lunch, makes a change from sandwiches.


Know Your Pets

If you have pets why not research what foods they are safe to eat, the next best thing to food going in your mouth is using it to feed another animal, and much better than throwing it away. Maybe your neighbour has a rabbit who’d like your carrot peelings? Or if you enjoy seeing birds in your garden (who doesn’t enjoy that??) then take a look at this article, it’s full of advice on what leftovers are suitable for garden birds to eat.

Bird feeding


Perfect Gift for the Foodie in Your Life

Buying gifts can be hard, especially if it feels like the person already has everything they need. If you find yourself facing this problem check out this great book: - “Chefs all over the world know that “leftovers” is not a bad word. Instead, that word represents time and money you’ve already spent! Why not use it?”

 Love Your Leftovers- Nick Evans

It’s all about eating healthily and planning your cooking so you reduce the amount of food waste, plus it makes a really original gift, so good you might end up not giving it away at all.










read more and comment...

ways to avoid wasting food waste when moving home

Monday 4th August 2014

Guest blog by Chloe Hashemi, content specialist for the Fountain Partnership. Chloe is interested in discovering weird and wonderful ways to reduce her carbon footprint. 

In 2013 alone, 3,000,000 people moved within the United Kingdom, and research has shown that the average Brit will move 8 times in their lives. So, with all this moving around it is inevitable that some of your food supply is being left behind. From the cans of baked beans you can’t be bothered to drive half-way across the country (or the world), to the packets of pasta you decided to throw away because you think it’ll be just be a ‘waste of space’, all of these items contribute to the 6.7 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK every year. 

What can we do to prevent all of this?
Moving house doesn’t mean throwing your ethics and your food out the door. Moving companies can assist you with your move from start to finish, and help you pack all the contents of your house properly, including the insides of your kitchen cupboards. Wasting food can always be avoided, and even though moving home can be one of the most stressful events in life, there are always ways to minimise this stress and waste.

Throw a Dinner Party
Hosting a dinner party can always be fun, especially when it has a purpose. Why not investigate what you still have knocking around the kitchen cupboards a few days before the move and concoct some unique dishes for your lucky guests. From soups to stews, an event like this will limit the amount of food you have to pack or throw away. This way you can also create some final happy memories in your house and help you look ahead to starting afresh in your new home.

13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK. Food bank projects across the country help feed these people, who for some reason or another cannot feed themselves. By donating to these food banks you can reduce food waste you may produce due to your move, as well as feed one of the hundreds of thousands of people who come to these food banks yearly. Check out your local supermarket for smaller local projects too.

Get Organised in Advance
Beginning to think about your move a few weeks in advance can help to decrease the amount of food you waste. In the final few weeks or days approaching the move, try and reduce the amount of food you buy, especially the long-lasting kind. Limit your food shop to items you can guarantee will be eaten by you or your family in the next few days rather than in the next few months. Even plan your meals to limit surplus items.

Help out a Friend
Why not make someone’s day with some perfectly good food which you just don’t have the room to bring with you? No one would complain about having a few extra ingredients to cook with after all.

Don’t Be a Slave to Sell By Dates
Even if the packet of biscuits you have on the back of your cupboard says they ‘went off’ yesterday, yet they still look and smell fine, why not pack them for the journey to your new house? A move of house is not an excuse to throw a whole load of food away. Don’t chuck loads away just because the print tells you to. These dates are written on the food for the suppliers, not the customers.

read more and comment...

Paul's Pork Ragu

Thursday 10th July 2014

My name is Paul and I’m going on to do my 4th year in Sustainable Environmental Management at the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) in Edinburgh, This summer Vegware have kindly taken me on as an intern working in the Environmental team and on the Food Waste Network.

 I love a bit of cooking and have done ever since growing up helping my dad out in the kitchen, although I was mostly washing dishes and doing the occasional stir.

 Since leaving my home after watching my dad cook for a family of 5, where there was always a large amount of food, I struggled to portion out how much I should cook for one person.

The average family in the UK wastes around £50-£60 a month on food that they don’t eat and I felt as a single person I was wasting about this alone! (

 Now I cook for two and find that doing roasts about once a week I can make one roast last two-three days for two people. Here’s one of my favourite recipes to do with leftover pork,  Pork Ragu, it’s quick, cheap and easy.



  • 200g left over pork,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 carrot,
  • 1 stick of celery,
  • 1 dried bay leaf,
  • Pinch of chilli flakes,
  • 1tspn of sweet paprika,
  • 1tspn of smoked paprika,
  • 400g carton of chopped tomatoes,
  • 2tbspn olive oil,
  • 3 cloves of garlic,



Thinly slice the onion, peel and chop the carrot in to small cubes and then make sure the celery is a similar size. Heat the oil until and before the pan is too hot, crush and add the garlic, making sure that the garlic does not brown too much, this will make the oil taste garlicky! This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan along with the chilli flakes and bay leaf for about 10 minutes until the onion goes soft and start to brown. Once this happens tear in the left over pork.

When the pork starts to turn a little crispy add both the sweet and the smoked paprika, then stir until everything in the pan is covered. Leave for 2 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, reducing the heat so that it Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it does not catch.

 This can be served with pasta (I prefer tagliatelle) or a jacket potato for a delicious dinner or thick cut toast for a tasty lunch.


Prep time: 5-10 minutes (depending on how good you are with a knife)

Cook time: 35 minutes.


read more and comment...

Top tips for Easter leftovers

Wednesday 23rd April 2014

we throw away over 70 million tonnes of food and drink away from our homes every year in the uk. easter can be a lovely time to come together with family and friends and enjoy an easter feast - but this can mean lots of leftovers and potentially wasted food...

If you've found yourself with a heap of leftovers after Easter then why not try some of these top tips from Love Food Hate Waste and reduce your waste!

  1. If you need to freeze leftover lamb, let it cool before you freeze it, cut it up into smaller pieces so they’ll defrost quickly, and seal well in a plastic freezer bag with the date written on – they will keep for up to a month and will taste great in a stir fry
  2. Bubble & squeak can be made up of many tasty leftovers: don’t worry about what you throw in the pan (leftover vegetables, potatoes) as long as you chop a little onion into the pan first – it’ll make a great Monday night dinner. Don’t forget, store onions in a dark cool place and they’ll last for longer.
  3. If you bought a load of eggs to make some Easter cakes don’t forget to put the ones which need using up first at the front. These can easily be whipped up into omelettes with a bit of grated cheese from your freezer. Serve with some greens for a tasty, nutritious dinner.
  4. To freeze sliced up cake put greaseproof paper between each slice allowing you to remove a few slices at a time rather than thaw the whole cake.
  5. To freshen up a day old loaf, hold it very briefly under a running cold tap. Give it a good shake and pop in a hot oven for about 10 minutes; it will be as soft and crusty as freshly baked bread. 

read more and comment...

The Environmental, Social and Economic Impact of Food Wastage

Thursday 17th April 2014

guest blog -  ruth barton works as a content specialist for 
fountain partnership
, she is a professional writer who is passionate about environmental issues. she is constantly looking for ways to reduce her carbon footprint. 

According to Love Food Hate Waste, homes in the UK are responsible
for throwing away around seven million tonnes of food and drink each year

Research shows that around 20% of what households buy ends up as waste and that almost two thirds of the food binned could actually have been eaten.

Reducing the amount of food waste in the home is becoming increasingly important, especially with the number people in the UK struggling to feed their family and the increasing reliance on food banks.

The economic downturn has seen the demand of food banks soar throughout the UK, The Trussell Trust have found that they are currently opening at a rate of three a week, and that the number of people turning to food banks increased to 346,992 during 2012-2013, a 170% increase on the previous year.

To help meet the rising demand in food banks they require ample donations and financial support. In 2012-2013, a total of 2,462 tonnes of food was donated by the public to hungry mouths. Although this is a fantastic achievement - when put into context with the amount of food that gets binned each year, the food that’s donated only makes up one third of that thrown away.

Recently, Best of Suffolk, a company that specialises in Suffolk Cottages donated £3,000 to the East Suffolk Food Bank, a project seeded by the Trussell Trust. Business director, Naomi Tarry explained “Being able to feed yourself and your family is such a basic need that has to be met. This charity does great work at providing for those along the coastline and we really want to give back to the community”

Binning unnecessary food does not only have an indirect impact on those who cannot afford to feed themselves it is also extremely costly to homeowners in the UK. On average, the price of wasted food is setting the average household back by around around £470 a year and costs up to £700 for a family with children, equating to a staggering total of £60 a month.

The food wastage doesn’t just have an impact on the UK’s wallets; it also has a massive impact on the UK’s carbon and water footprint. If there was no food waste whatsoever in the UK it would be equal to taking 25% of call cars off the road and our overall water footprint would be reduced by almost 5%.

So, reducing food wastage is a no brainer, not only will it help reduce both your carbon and water footprint, it will save you money some of which you can potentially donate to food banks. Here are a few ways to reduce food wastage:

-        Plan your meals:  Simply having in mind what you’re going to eat for the rest of the week is a fantastic way to make yourself aware of what you have in your fridge and cupboards and also what you need to buy. Write down your meal plan at the same time as putting together your shopping list, it will help yourself and your family take it more seriously and also remind you of what you need to buy.

-        Follow your shopping list: try not to be drawn in by special offers and food items that are not on your list- particularly if they are perishable. It’s the supermarket’s aim to make you spend as much money as possible and this often means buying what you don’t need. Bear this in mind and stick to your list! BOGOF and three for two offers are particularly guilty of making people buy more food than they need ultimately meaning that the ‘free’ food ends up in the bin.

-        Blitz it: Fruit and vegetables are the most wasted food, accounting for nearly half of all the binned food. If you are aware something fresh might be on the turn, try actively to do something with it. Use smoothies and soups to your advantage, not only are they healthy options but they are a fantastic way to use up large quantities of fruit and vegetables. Placing a paper towel in your salad bag and rolling it tightly is another great way of preserving its life, it will absorb excess water helping your salad to stay fresh for longer.

read more and comment...

World Bank estimates third of food is wasted

Thursday 13th March 2014

The World Bank has estimated that the world wastes one-quarter to one-third of all food produced for human consumption in its most recent Food Price Watch report.

The report states that the global community wastes a total of 11 billion metric tons every year. In developing countries suffering from extreme cases of undernourishment this wastage of food translates to 400 – 500 calories per person each day and in developed countries, such as Britain, as much as 1,520 calories per day.

Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, said “The amount of food wasted and lost globally is shameful.

Millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night, and yet millions of tons of food end up in trash cans or spoiled on the way to market.”

South and Southeast Asia is reported to waste a quarter of all global food with 87% lost in production, storage and transport, whereas in North America and Oceania almost 61% of food is wasted by consumers.

Yong Kim emphasised the need to step up and take action now to stop the colossal amount of food being wasted. In developed countries there are many simple solutions available to become more sustainable such as using reseal-able containers and encouraging businesses and consumers to be more responsible. In developing countries more complex solutions are needed though such as investing more in infrastructure.

More at 

read more and comment...

eilidh's spanish soup from stale bread

Tuesday 11th March 2014

sopa casellana

I recently enrolled in a spanish cookery course and last week we made Sopa Casellana, a traditional warming soup made from stale bread. 

Personally I would recommend using chorizo and don't scrimp on the poached really makes it! 


  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 150g stale bread
  • 3 eggs1L of good quality chicken stock
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 150g Serrano ham or chorizo cubes
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • cumin seeds (optional)


  • In a big pot toss the garlic and cumin seeds in olive oil. Allow enough time to brown but be careful not to burn them. 
  • Add the ham or chorizo and fry further.
  • Add the cubed bread and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Immediately add the stock and allow to cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Top with a poached egg and serve immediately.

read more and comment...

Celebrate Chip Week and use up your leftovers!

Thursday 20th February 2014

it’s chip week this week! 

A week to celebrate the nation's favourite potato delights and most importantly eat LOTS of chips! But what do you do with those other leftovers? Love Food Hate Waste have got a great recipe to use up leftovers from your Sunday roast (served up with chips of course!) 

leftover roast beef salad with fat cut chips and horseradish mayo dressing

The beef can be substituted for your favourite meat, with a dressing to suit. 


  • Leftover cold roast beef
  • 600g Fluffy potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1-2 bags of mixed salad leaves e.g. lambs lettuce, rocket or pea shoots

for the dressing

  • 4 tsps grated horseradish or to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tbsps low fat mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 220C. Meanwhile peel and cut the potatoes into fat cut chips and lightly coat in a little olive oil on a non stick roasting tray. Cook for 30 minutes turning occasionally.

Next make the dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, horseradish and salt and pepper, mix well. 

To serve, dress the salad leaves and top with thin slices of beef drizzled with more dressing. Serve with the hot oven chips.

Tips: A clean screw top jar makes a great ‘shaker’ to mix this dressing in.

For more information on using leftovers and how you can reduce waste visit our friends at Love Food, Hate Waste


read more and comment...

love your leftovers with Neil Forbes

Friday 14th February 2014

Neil Forbes, Chef Director of Cafe St Honoré

Neil's one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an "emotional experience that uses all the senses".

Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny's soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.  Like the soup, the menus at Cafe St Honoré make the most of good, honest ingredients cooked simply.

There are no gadgets or gizmos in Neil's kitchen, just him and a team of equally passionate chefs who can't wait to see what will be delivered each day, and what they can create from it.  They pride themselves on producing everything in-house using ingredients sourced from local producers and suppliers.

In 2011, Neil was named the Scottish Restaurant Awards ‘Chef of the Year’, he is a member of the Slow Food UK Chef Alliance and his restaurant holds Sustainable Restaurant Association 3-star champion status.  He regularly demonstrates his skills at a broad range of events across the UK as well as appearing on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kitchen Cafe.

Follow Neil on Twitter @chefneilforbes

Neil's frittata

A frittata is one of the tastiest and quickest ways to make the most of your leftovers, and one of my favourite dishes too. Almost everything can be used up this way - meat from your Sunday roast, veg and herbs, breadcrumbs, scrapings of mustard and pesto from jars, the last couple of olives and the smallest portions of cheese.  If you make more than you want to eat, slices can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days and either eaten cold as a snack, or served heated up as part of a main meal.


X2 large eggs 

Handful of leftovers

Teaspoon of rapeseed or olive oil

Teaspoon of butter

Small clove of garlic, finely chopped or minced

Cheese - as little or as much as you desire. A very small amount of strong blue cheese (which has aged and is maybe too strong to eat raw) is a great match for this dish.



Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and twist of fresh black pepper. If you're using pesto, mustard or anything similar, add to this mix.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the oil and butter.

Once the oil and butter are hot, add your leftover veg and/or meat and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until they have gained some extra colour.

Next, add fresh herbs if you have any (or snip some rosemary from the garden) and the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the eggs, stirring lightly with a spatula to keep the mixture moving for the first minute or so.

Once the base of the frittata is firm but the surface is still gloopy, crumble the cheese over the surface and then place the whole pan under a hot grill until cooked.  You can also add breadcrumbs or leftover stuffing mix at the same time you add the cheese to give the dish some crunch.

Perfect served with salad leaves.

read more and comment...

The Scottish Government have launched their food waste campaign

Thursday 6th February 2014

Every year, avoidable food waste costs the Scottish public over £1 billion and creates harmful greenhouse gases. Preventing this waste could help cut carbon emissions equal to taking one car in four off Scotland’s roads.

Scotland throws away 630,000 tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year and most of this could have been eaten. Reducing this waste would save £470 a year for the average household – almost £40 every month! That’s why a new campaign from the Scottish Government is encouraging people across Scotland to cut their food waste and recycle what we can’t use.

The Scottish Government has committed to ambitious climate change targets of a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. This includes a ban on food waste, from landfill by the end of 2020, which will help reduce emissions. 

In January, new waste regulation rules came into effect for Scottish businesses making it compulsory for all businesses in Scotland to recycle key materials including food waste.

The 8 week campaign aims to cut food waste to create a greener, cleaner Scotland now and for the future.

To find out a bit more, you can watch the new TV ad here.

For more tips and information on wasting less food, recycling and local food waste collections services in your area go to

read more and comment...

Top tips for a leftover lunches

Thursday 30th January 2014

Every day in the UK we throw away the equivalent of:

  • 5.8 million whole potatoes
  • 1.4 million whole bananas
  • 1.5 million whole tomatoes
  • 24 million whole slices of bread
  • 1.5 million sausages
  • 1.9 million slices of ham
  • 1.1 million eggs 

… just from our homes and all of which could have been used to make tasty lunches to take to work, school, university – the list goes on. Why throw away good food just because we've let it go off on us and then have to go out and buy more for lunch! 

so how do you enjoy a free lunch? lfhw have come up with some top tips to get you started...

  • Got a small amount leftover from last night’s dinner? These smaller amounts are often perfect for lunch – just pop them in a tub and keep in the fridge for lunch the next day

  • If you have a microwave at your disposal, a jacket potato can 
    transform a few scraps from the fridge into a tasty and filling lunch.
    Top it with leftovers such as bolognese, chilli, roasted vegetables, beans, or use up bits of cheese, cold meats, tuna … the possibilities are endless!
  • Not only can soup be a healthy option, it is also a great way to use up virtually anything that is left in the fridge. Wilting veggies, odd bits of cheese, leftover meats and fish can all be turned into delicious nutritious soups.
  • Pitta breads make handy pockets for last night’s chicken stir-fry, or leftover roast vegetables and hummus. Yesterday’s Mexican beans or chilli con carne are great rolled up in a wrap.
  • Leftover cold pizza makes a yummy treat for lunch the next day! Add some chopped veg such as carrots or celery
  • Salads no longer mean a couple of soggy lettuce leaves and not much else. Leftover cold meats, the last bit of cheese, fruit, potatoes, pasta, and rice are all great in salads.Boiled eggs, shredded chicken, grated cheese, and even nuts… get creative!

read more and comment...

There IS such a thing as a free lunch!

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

In the UK, we spend £6.5 billion on buying ready-made sandwiches every year - but at the same time we're wasting over £6 billion worth of good food, that we could have used to make our own lunch.

Don't waste money on buying lunch that you could have made from ingredients you already have! Raid your fridge, feezer and cupboards and get creative.

Here's a recipe from LFHW to use up leftover chicken and crème fraiche - perfect for filling your homemade sandwich!

creamy herb chicken


125g chicken strips

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, mint or basil


black pepper


1. Mix leftover chicken strips with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise mixed with the crème fraiche.

2. Flavour with herbs such as tarragon, mint or basil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Use it to fill a crusty roll or sandwich for a tasty leftover lunch!

read more and comment...

Salmon Soup at Love Food Hate Waste Theatre, BBC Good Food

Friday 22nd November 2013

guest blog - wendy barrie, scottish food guide


Motorway food can be a nightmare for us: the provenance of the ingredients and quality of the food, the lack of nutrition and wasteful packaging – take your pick! Imagine my joy then in finding a motorway stop in Sweden where they serve salmon. The fish, the whole fish, and nothing but the fish! From smoked to fresh, hot meals and salads, and best of all a rich flavoursome salmon soup to use up all the scraps.

I went home and tried out some ideas and this is my result that I cooked up as one of my dishes at BBC recently. It was a pleasure to take part and particularly rewarding when the public interact asking supplementary questions. It’s very important to have LFHW present at such an event, to raise awareness with foodies and spread the word.

To make this soup you can use a mix of smoked and fresh salmon – odd shaped pieces are perfect. Often you can buy such pieces for a reduced price but usually I have trimmings left from another day that I have frozen, then when you have sufficient you can make a batch of soup. With deliciously crusty wholemeal croûtons it becomes a meal in itself.


salmon soup with croûtons 


300g Scottish salmon trimmings – or mixed with other fish

50g butter with a drizzle of rapeseed oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1L vegetable stock

150mls single cream

Freshly milled black pepper and sea salt

1 large potato, peeled and diced

2 tsps of tomato pureé

1 small glass leftover dry white wine – if you have it

Yesterday’s bread, cut into cubes

Dill/ parsley /wedges of lemon to garnish



Cut salmon into bite sized chunks.

Heat butter with oil in a generous sized pan and cook onions until soft but not browned.

Add salmon to pan and sauté for a few moments, taking care not to mash.

Add remaining ingredients apart from the cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes until potatoes are soft and salmon opaque and cooked through.

Using a slotted spoon, set aside a few pieces of salmon and liquidise soup.

Add cream, stir and heat through until steaming hot. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary. You can adjust consistency if required - a little extra stock to thin or a blended teaspoon of cornflour brought to the boil in the pan to thicken.

Ladle into warm bowls, adding a few chunks of salmon to each.

Serves 3-4 with toasted bread croûtons.

read more and comment...

Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Monday 28th October 2013

With Halloween just around the corner, Byam Trotter's recipe to use up pumkin flesh after carving is just the ticket. 


1 tbsp  vegetable oil

25g butter

1 clove of garlic

4 shallots

2 red chillis

1 tbsp chopped lemongrass

500ml chicken or veg stock

350ml coconut milk

475g pumpkin flesh

fresh basil leaves


Melt the butter over low heat and add the oil.

In the same pan (still on a low heat so as not to burn) cook the garlic, shallots, chillies and lemongrass until softened and fragrant.

Stir in the stock, coconut milk and pumpkin, turn up the heat and boil until the pumpkin has softened.

Use a hand blender to achieve your desired consistency.

Serve garnished with the basil 

read more and comment...

Hospitality sector are the worst for waste

Wednesday 16th October 2013

A new report has revealed that 50% of bars and restaurants in the UK are failing to recycle their waste - not a good statistic considering these types of businesses are the worst offenders for producing food waste. who carried out the research suggest that poor recycling amongst bars and restaurants is down to a drive for lower costs resulting in all waste being disposed of as general waste.

However, recent research carried out by ourselves to be published later this month has shown that there is value in recycling more. By improving waste practices, weekly waste costs can actually be reduced.

Bars and restaurants need to learn that more bins doesn’t mean more money and in fact by recycling more they can cut costs. Landfill is the most expensive destination for waste so any reductions in general waste that can be made will result in savings.

Scottish bars and restaurants are set to realise this come January 2014 when the Waste (Scotland) Regulations will require all businesses to recycle by law.

read more and comment...

Funky Pea Dip

Monday 30th September 2013

Chef Samantha Wells from Random Dining shares her recipe for leftover peas.



200g of leftover peas (or broadbeans or sweetcorn)

oilve oil

good squeeze of lemon juice

salt and pepper

1-2 cloves of garlic

generous handfull of grated parmesan or goats cheese


Pop peas, garlic, lemon juice and drizzle of oil into a blender and blendto form a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper and add in cheese. 

Serve on toast with crispy bacon - yum!

read more and comment...

Vietnamese banh mi baguette

Tuesday 27th August 2013

A Squid and Pear recipe to avoid wasting carrot, meat and bread.


1 petit baguette roll or 7 inches of a longer baguette

slices meat or tofu, at room temperature


soy sauce

3-4 thin cucumber strips

2-3 corriander sprigs, roughly chopped

3-4 thin slices of jalapeno or mild chilli

1 carrot, finely sliced

1tsp salt

½ cup of sugar

1¼ cups distilled white vinegar

1 cup of warm water


First make carrot pickle by marinading carrot in a liquor of salt, sugar, vinegar and warm water for 1 hour.

Slice the bread lengthways and hollow out a trough, saving the insides for crumbs to freeze later.

Crisp the bread in the oven and cool for one minute. Now add a generous sread of mayo, drizzle on some soy sauce then lay in the other ingredients. 


Crunchy tip: 

swap the carrot for red cabbage, beetroot, radish, or peppers

read more and comment...

pop up shops? pop up restaurants - pop up recycling?

Monday 12th August 2013

CBI Innovator of the Year First Mile showed poor-performing councils how to recycle by providing pop-up recycling stations across London’s green squares last week.

London businesses still send over 1 million tonnes of waste to landfill every year. Westminster Council and their contractor Veolia published data earlier this year to show they only recycled 13% of material collected in 2012.

From Monday 5th- Friday 9th August, Londoners enjoying lunch in the sun were able to recycle every bit of their packaging and food leftovers in First Mile’spop-up recycling bins. First Mile provided recycling bins across ten different green squares including Golden Square, Soho Square and Cavendish Square.

All food collected was taken for anaerobic digestion where it will produce electricity and a nutrient-rich fertiliser. All dry material (paper, plastic, card, metal and glass) was taken for processing at a state-of-the-art recycling facility and turned back into new products.

 “We want to help London businesses to recycle more. Councils are not achieving good results in terms of recycling and it should be a lot easier. Our customers can recycle over 90% of material and pop-up recycling is a great way of demonstrating how easy it can be.” Bruce Bratley, First Mile CEO.

story contributed by Sarah Morgan - First Mile

read more and comment...

food label jargon busting - the key to cutting food waste?

Monday 12th August 2013

guest blog - amy murnan, the fresh fresher

WRAP suggest that 60% of all household waste is caused by the misunderstanding of food labels.  Considering the scares in the food industry lately, this is completely understandable – nobody wants to risk eating dodgy meat. However, it is not necessarily the date that is important on food labels. It is the pesky phrases that come before it that are causing the confusion.

Luckily for the supporters of The Food Waste Network, minimising food waste in businesses and homes is simple. Label jargon just needs a bit of de-bunking. It seems silly to think that knowing the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ could save so much food being wasted, as well as money. But it could make knowing what to save a little bit easier.

best before date

This is the date by which time the product will no longer have optimum flavour or quality – eating something after the best before date is not unsafe, only less preferable. Save it!



sell by, or display until

These phrases are for the instruction of shop staff rather than consumers. If products are past expires onthese dates, it means that it is advised that theshop does not stock them anymore to be on the extra-safe side. Save it!

expires on

This is the date that, according to the manufacturer, the product will no longer be edible. For meat or fish, it is worth sticking to this. For less risky products like fresh fruit and vegetables, looking, smelling or touching them will tell you if they really are inedible.

use by

This is most commonly found on food that expires quickly. If the product is past this date it is better to be safe than sorry, particularly with meat or fish. Bin it!

Evidently, looking for the ‘use by’ and expiry date is the easiest way of being safe with food. Other phrases are only there for shops, supermarkets and wholesalers.

Surprisingly enough, food labelling is controversial enough to earn the EU’s attention. Hopefully with the EU discussing the simplification of labels on an international level, sorting good food from bad food will become a whole lot easier and household waste will be reduced. Until then, it’s worth knowing your stuff and using The Food Waste Network for your food surplus. 

If you liked this article, discover more fresh ideas at The Fresh Fresher.

read more and comment...

the pig idea

Monday 12th August 2013

Historically and particularly during wartime, pigs were used as ‘food waste disposers’ – eating leftover food whilst providing a source of food for humans. This practice continued, particularly in rural Britain, right though until 2001.

Feeding leftovers to pigs came to an abrupt end in 2001 when the outbreak of food and mouth resulted in a ban of the practice.

A new campaign led by food waste expert Tristam Stuart is fighting to lift this ban and encourage the use of food waste to feed pigs.

Supporters of The Pig Idea, including celebrity names such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Phillip Schofield, argue that using food waste as a feed for livestock would have many environmental benefits.

Soya for example is  imported from South America to feed our animals – stopping this dependence on soya would help protect endangered rainforests.

In the UK, rising grain prices are putting   pig farmers out of business, despite there being massive amounts of food waste been produced here everyday. Recycling this food waste for livestock feed would increase food security in Europe, something that with rising population is becoming a growing concern.

Tristam and his team are not only looking to lift the EU ban but also to encourage the use of feeding legally permissible food to pigs. Bread, dairy and fruit and veg waste is excluded from the ban and The Pig Idea hopes to restore public confidence in this safe, efficient and environmentally friendly feed for pigs.

Join the movement at:

read more and comment...

nick nairns leftover chicken allsorts

Monday 12th August 2013

A good recipe for any leftover roast chicken bits and odd bits of veg in the bottom of the fridge.


2 tbsp sunflower oil, to fry 

250g basmati rice

pinch sea salt

100g courgettes, sliced (or/and any leftover bits of veg in the fridge)

150g mushrooms, sliced

½ red pepper, sliced

200g leftover cooked chicken, shredded

rasher or 2 of leftover bacon (optional)

4 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra to serve

1 tsp honey

1 red chilli, sliced

juice ½ lime (lemon would work, too)

freshly ground black pepper

big handful chopped fresh coriander 



First cook the rice. Find a large pan with a tight-fitting lid, fill it with water and a pinch of salt and bring tothe boil. You need 5 times as much water as rice. Wash the rice under cold running water until it runs clear. Pour the rice into the boiling water and return to the boil. Stir once. Boil for exactly 7 minutes then drain well. Return the rice to the pan and slam on a lid. Leave to steam in its own heat undisturbed for 10 minutes. Fork up and it’s ready.


While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over a high heat and add the bacon. Cook for 3 mins. Add the peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes. Throw in the mushrooms and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Now add the courgette and chilli, toss for a minute then add the chicken. Now stir in the cooked rice. Splash in the soy sauce, honey, lime juice and lastly add the herbs. Toss around quickly then serve with extra soy sauce on the table.

read more and comment...

composting it's all in the mix

Monday 12th August 2013

It was National Compost Awareness Week recently and with the weather picking up what better time to start composting at home? Not only will you get a free supply of compost for your jobs around the garden but you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint.

Composting at home for a year can save as much CO2 as your washing machine emits in 3 months!

all in the mix

The key to good composting is getting the mix right and it’s all in the balance of green and brown materials. Green materials are high in nitrogen and help keep the compost moist. Think things like fruit and veg peelings, grass cuttings, tea bags and coffee grounds.

Brown material adds carbon to the mix and provides roughage giving the compost its texture. Paper, cardboard, egg shells and even the contents of your hoover contribute to the brown fraction.

To avoid unwanted visitors it is best to keep meat and cooked food out of your compost bin. Lots more handy hints and tips can be found on the Recycle Now website.

Happy composting!

read more and comment...

case study - Scotland's first zero waste brew pub?

Monday 12th August 2013

ThHangingBat, a microbrewery and beer café in Edinburgh, are going for zero waste to landfill.

Since opening in October last year, the beer café have served their food in Vegware’s certified compostable packaging and in January, they contacted The Food Waste Network, Vegware’s sister initiative that helps businesses find recycling services, for advice about how to recycle their packaging.

On speaking with The Hanging Bat it became clear that there was real room for improvement of their waste management. 


Before we helped out, The Hanging Bat were recycling glass and cans, but everything else was going into the general waste bin - a total of 3 full 1100-litre bins per week going straight to landfill.

step one: an audit of materials and costs

To begin reducing this we first looked at what recyclable materials were going into general waste. This was mainly food waste, Vegware packaging, cardboard, plastic and paper – all of which could be recycled.

The next step was to work out the cost of introducing recycling collections for these materials. The answer? Nothing. In fact, recycling more would mean reducing the size of the general waste bin, and The Hanging Bat would actually save money on their weekly waste costs.

new bins, new signs 

This swayed it for the management and so the Hanging Bat’s journey to zero waste began. The first step was to introduce two new bins: one for food waste and compostable food packaging; one for plastic, cardboard and paper. Recycling volumes going up means general waste going down, so an important cost-saver was to reduce the size of the general bin from 1100 litre to 360 litre.

Each bin behind the bar now has bespoke bin signage made by Vegware, ensuring staff know exactly what goes where. No excuses for recyclable material going in the general bin now!

the results?

The new waste system has not only saved The Hanging Bat on its weekly waste costs, but has now successfully reduced their waste to landfill by 90%. Landfill is by far the most expensive destination for waste, so reducing your reliance on that general waste bin protects you from this. Also, this Edinburgh beer café now recycle all materials required by the incoming Waste (Scotland) Regulations

In fact, they actually recycle even more than required by the new Regs. But The Hanging Bat are trying to go zero waste to landfill, so they are looking for ways to trim their bin even further. One tricky material they have come across is candle wax, left over when candles have burned out. To avoid sending this to landfill, they have teamed up with a local candle maker who will recycle the wax into new candles – solving a difficult waste stream whilst supporting another local business!

lessons learnt

So what can other businesses learn from The Hanging Bat’s waste reduction experience?Firstly, increasing recycling doesnot necessarily mean increasing costs – The Hanging Bat have saved money by reducing their waste.  And what’s

more it was easy – they only had to bring in two new bins to reduce waste to landfill by 90%.

Reducing waste and becoming a more sustainable business brings with it increased PR and marketing opportunities. On 7th March, The Hanging Bat’s story was shared during a Climate Week event, attended by guests from a range of high profile Scottish businesses. Look out for the event write-up in the March edition of Foodservice Footprint magazine.

read more and comment...

we're in organics recycling magazine

Monday 12th August 2013

This is what flopped onto our desks recently. Look familiar?

You may have noticed our iconic food waste map image brightening up the front cover of the Spring edition of Organics Recycling magazine.

You can read the full article here.

read more and comment...

new Scottish regs leading the way to zero waste

Monday 12th August 2013

Scottish businesses are the first in the UK to be required to recycle – including food waste.

As of the 1st of January 2014, all businesses in Scotland will be required to separate dry recyclables including glass, paper, cardboard, plastics and metal at source.

The new regs also require food businesses producing more than 5kg of food waste a week to introduce food waste recycling.

Food businesses producing more than 50kg of food waste a week be required to separate food waste for collection by 2014, while smaller businesses will have until 2016 to comply. Food businesses classed as ‘rural’ are exempt from the food waste legislation.

These regs aim to reduce the volumes of waste going to landfill and encourage Scots to see their waste as a resource. The 2012 regulations will prepare Scotland for the planned landfill ban of biodegradable waste in 2020.

The regulations being imposed in Scotland are groundbreaking and if enforced and regulated correctly, could see Scotland soar ahead of the rest of the UK in the waste management stakes. Perhaps the Scottish Government’s vision of a zero waste Scotland is closer to becoming a reality?

Further info on the regs: Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA.

read more and comment...

world war - against waste

Monday 12th August 2013

Campaigns about reducing food waste are not a new thing. During both the world wars food waste propaganda campaigns were common. In the UK, messages generally related to growing your own food and feeding leftovers to animals whereas The US Food Administation favoured stronger messages such as "Food is Ammunition - Don't waste it!" and even "Waste the food and help the hun".

Here are a few posters we thought would be food for thought...

read more and comment...

is it really waste? redistributing surplus food

Monday 12th August 2013

Waste. It's a short word with a long story. But much discarded food could be avoided and eaten, rather than going to waste.

 WRAP estimates that around a fifth of all food and drink bought is thrown away needlessly. Consumer campaigns like Love Food Hate Waste are doing stirling work to raise awareness and help people waste less food.

But what about businesses who find they have surplus food on their hands? Plan ZHeroes is one of a number of organisations working hard to tackle this problem. It is a simple idea - Plan ZHeroes matches surplus food to local charities in need of sustenance. 

The brains (and heart) behind Plan Zheroes, Chris Wilkie and Maria Ana Botelho Neves, are on the waste management working group. They are passionate that redistribution of edible food should be a key part of reducing waste.

read more and comment...

silent success of landfill tax

Monday 12th August 2013

Last year saw the first set of statistics for municipal waste where more waste was recycled than was landfilled. Underpinning this success is landfill tax – a policy instrument which has been a silent success story for the last 15 years.

Landfill tax was introduced in 1996 as an incentive to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The tax was set very low at first – a mere £7 per tonne in 1996 (!) - but as of April 2014, landfill tax will reach a new minimum of £80 per tonne.

forcing businesses to save money

There is little doubt over the success that the tax on landfill has achieved. Since 2006, waste to landfill has plummeted by 37.5% - resulting in associated carbon emission savings in the region of 52,000 tonnes per year.

Not only has landfill tax addressed the environmental problem it set out to solve - but it is also responsible for huge increases in recycling. In 1996, prior to the establishment of landfill tax, UK recycling rates were 7% - a figure that now stands at 43%.

Landfill is now, without doubt, the most expensive destination for our rubbish. This means quite literally - businesses can no longer afford not to recycle. By putting a monetary value on waste, landfill tax has made waste reduction a priority for businesses encouraging more sustainable waste management.

read more and comment...

collaborating, not competing

Monday 12th August 2013

So the hospitality and foodservice agreement is finally underway, with the first wave of working group meetings now complete. 

As Project Manager of the Food Waste Network, I am obviously pretty interested in food waste recycling. So I was pleased to attendthe waste management working group.

The room was full of representatives from all sections of the foodservice food chain - waste recycling companies, high-end restaurants, highstreet quick-service restaurants, contract caterers and a good sprinkling of technical support bods.

Chair Mike Hanson’s final words stayed with me – that this is a unique forum uniting key players from across the sector. The phrase that impressed me was ‘collaborative and non-competitive’.

Outside this agreement, many signatories and supporters are competitors. But brought together, we as a sector have a unique opportunity to discuss issues facing us all. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, and sharing best practice raises standards across the board.

And if outside of the agreement, foodservice companies compete with each other to be greener - to waste less and recycle more - then that's good news for streamlining costs and even better news for the environment.

read more and comment...

bright idea to avoid supermarket spoilage

Monday 12th August 2013

LED bulbs have gained a reputation for being the most energy efficient lighting onthe market. Now a Welsh developer suggests they may not only slash energy bills, but could also help supermarkets reduce the amount of food waste they produce.

Welsh firm Dena LED argue that as LED lights emit no heat, they may be able to help keep food fresher for longer. Illuminating fresh produce with conventional, heat-emitting bulbs can cause fresh produce to sweat in its packaging, resulting in food spoiling quicker.

Supermarkets have already been taking huge steps to reduce food waste through innovations such as packaging that keeps food fresher for longer. But could LED lighting be the next round in the fight against food waste? 

read more and comment...

eco eating at brookwood

Monday 12th August 2013

Did you know that a third of all waste in secondary schools is food waste, and in primary schools, at 46 per cent, food is the largest fraction of all waste?

Many schools are working to achive Eco-School status, part of an international programme to raise students’ awareness of sustainable development issuesthough classroom study and community action. Making sure food waste is managed properly is a really important part of any school's environmental action plan.

One school which has got behind environmental best practice is University College School (UCS) in Hampstead which has 1,100 pupils aged 3 -18. All the food at UCS is freshly prepared every day in the school kitchens by The Brookwood Partnership. Brookwood is a specialist caterer to the education sector, so they know a thing or two about what children want! As part of its Planet Matters Programme, Brookwood has introduced ‘Eco Eating’ at UCS, which is where all food waste is diverted from landfill; but it's not just the diversion from landfill which is important here, it's sending it to Anaerobic  Digestion (AD.)

Eco Eating is the food waste collection scheme from Cawleys waste management, a ‘hall mark scheme’  which ensures that the best possible standard of food waste management is used. Cawleys is a pioneer in commercial food waste management, and helped Waitrose become the first retailer in the country to send its food waste to AD. Now Eco-Eating is available across the country and Brookwood has made it a central part of its Planet Matters Programme.

AD is a process which captures  all the goodness in the food, turning it into a liquid digestate for  fields, and also captures the biogas which is produced in the process.

School children who are keen on science enjoy learning about AD, as it’s a clever process which works rather like a cow’s stomach, where the food is broken down through biological action, in a sealed container. Instead of food waste rotting in landfill where it gives off methane which is twenty times more powerful as a green house gas than carbon dioxide, the bio gas which is released through the biological action of AD is captured and used to generate electricty. The liquid digestate which is the final product from the sealed AD container is an excellent soil conditioner and fertiliser, so the whole process contributes to a positive circle of food growing and eating.

read more and comment...

landfill tax rises to 72 per tonne

Friday 31st May 2013

April 1st saw an extra £8 piled on top of the already eye-watering landfill charges. In this economic climate, why would any business waste money sending rubbish to landfill? 

Landfill has long been the most expensive destination for UK waste, and now the difference has widened yet again. 

For the non-waste-geeks among us, the 'gate fee' is the fee paid by a waste collector to bring its load to a particular waste treatment facility. Landfill tax is an extra tax which rises by £8 per tonne every year as a way of discouraging landfill and boosting recycling rates. So what a business pays its waste partner generally covers:

  • their collection charge;
  • plus the gate fee for where the waste goes;
  • plus the landfill tax for anything which can't be reprocessed in some way. 

So what do different processes cost?

WRAP's 2012 gate fees report looks at median gate fees for all the different places waste can go. There is huge regional variation and pricing is pretty complex, but these median figures give a broad idea.

  • Landfill including landfill tax: £85 per tonne
  • Food waste recycling: £41-44 per tonne
  • Dry mixed recycling: £9 per tonne

And now that landfill tax has gone up yet again, the business case for food waste recycling grows even stronger.

The real april fools here are businesses and councils still sending waste to landfill. 

read more and comment...

bananas against waste!

Friday 31st May 2013

A Restaurant Associates recipe to avoid wasting blemised bananas


125g butter

150g Fairtrade caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 free range egg

2 ripe Fairtrade bananas, mashed

190g self raising flour

60ml milk 


  • Melt butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat
  • Remove from heat and add banana
  • Add the egg, mix well
  • Stir in flour and milk
  • Bake at 150C for 35 mins
  • Enjoy!

top banana:

Stop bananas going brown by keeping them out of the fridge!

read more and comment...

who is hafsa anyway?

Tuesday 5th February 2013

Yes, it needs a nice acronym. The Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement, as well as being a mouthful to say, contains a huge amount of food for thought. This voluntary agreement, orchestrated by WRAP on behalf of the UK governments, is bringing the foodservice sector together to reduce waste and recycle more.

There are two targets we are working towards:

  • Prevention target: Reduce food and associated packaging waste arising by 5% by the end of 2015. This will be against a 2012 baseline and be measured by CO2e emissions.
  • Waste management target: Increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) or composted to at least 70% by the end of 2015. 

The Food Waste Network is a founding supporter, as we know an awful lot about UK food waste recycling. After all, we are mapping all commercial and industrial food waste recycling services by postcode. Our free matchmaking service (enquiry form at recycle my food) is perfect to help the signatories meet the waste management target. 

read more and comment...