Food Waste Stories

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.

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freeze it!

Thursday 2nd July 2015

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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:

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'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: ////


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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:  

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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

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food wastage around the world

Thursday 7th May 2015

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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:

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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

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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


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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.










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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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