'Only buy what you need': The week-long campaign encouraging people to cut down on their food waste

Preston eateries are getting involved with a new national scheme to reduce food waste as figures reveal millions of tonnes food is thrown to the landfill every year.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 4:04 pm

3.1 million glasses of milk are tipped down the drains every day, as 4.4 million potatoes and 20 million slices of bread are binned in the UK.

In the first of its kind, 'Food Waste Action Week', operated by the WRAP organisation, aims to empower people to manage their food to avoid it being wasted over fears that food waste will increase as lockdown is lifted.

The programme, which runs until March 7, comes as it was announced that UK homes waste 6.6 million tonnes of food each year at a cost of £14 billion. Of that, 4.5 million tonnes is food that could have been eaten.

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The Larder Cafe, Lancaster Road, is among those supporting 'Food Waste Action Week', offering tips to households on ways they can reduce food waste and be creative with leftovers.

They actively practise low waste through their café and catering business; minimising food waste in day to day operations including cooking from scratch and buying local fresh produce.

Making soups, writing shopping lists and freezing meals are just some of the ways families can cut their food waste, according to staff.

Founder Kay Johnson said: "There are different levels of food waste, there is individuals, farmers and then the supermarkets. We have a situation where supermarkets begin the process by dictating seasonality and it goes against nature which is difficult for farmers.

Kay Johnson and colleagues at The Larder are giving tips to reduce household food waste

"When it comes to individuals and managing their levels of food waste there are many tips that really work because the level of household food waste being thrown away is becoming a real issue. They start with simple things like meal planning and making lists for shopping so that when people go out, they only buy what they really need.

"We encourage people to not getting sucked into marketing deals at shopping centres that encourage them to bulk buy and to try and be more disciplined. There are great recipes that can really make use of leftover foods instead of them being thrown."

Andrea Czinege, Food Champion at the Larder, added: “Love your freezer. So many foods can be frozen, and enjoyed at a later date, including bananas. Freeze your bananas with their skin on and use defrosted in cakes or porridge at a later date, or use frozen in smoothies – delicious sweet ice.

“Keep an eye on your food date labels and make sure you use up all your food in time by checking the ‘use by’ label, and if your salad is looking a little sad, try adding it to a soup or a curry, to enjoy those extra nutrients, and prevent food waste.

Almost 7 million tonnes of food is sent to landfill every year in the UK

"Make a list and plan your shopping list for the week and what you are going to cook each day. This will make sure that you know what is in your fridge, what is being used when, and help reduce the food that goes in the bin! This will save both money and time, as well as preventing food waste."

In the UK, the ‘edible’ element of household food waste is responsible for 14 million tonnes of Co2e alone.

And recent research by WRAP found that 32 per cent of people see a link between food waste and climate change.

And it revealed that although lockdown had a positive impact by increasing batch cooking and meal planning, the latest insights suggested that food waste levels are likely to rise again as we emerge from lockdown.

The Larder Cafe, Lancaster Road, is among those supporting 'Food Waste Action Week'

Marcus Gover, CEO WRAP said: “Climate change is happening now and is the greatest threat to our planet, and our future generations. We must act, fast. Wasting food has a huge contribution to global emissions but is often overlooked or ignored.

"We are so used to wasting food that we’ve forgotten its value, and the cost that feeding our growing global population has on the natural world. Food Waste Action Week is about empowering everyone to act because like it or not, we in our homes are the most significant part of the problem.

"So, it’s down to us all to be part of the solution too, and this is one environmental issue that we can all tackle, and with minimum effort.”

The campaign has 40 strategic partners from retailers, food manufacturers, hospitality and food service businesses to local authorities and electrical manufacturers, who will organise special activities during the week.

Defra Food Waste Champion Ben Elliot said: “I am passionate about cutting food waste. It has a huge carbon footprint, particularly in terms of the amount of energy used for its production, manufacture, storage and often unnecessary disposal.

"Food Waste Action Week is a key vehicle for raising awareness amongst the public, the food industry and the retail sector about just how much food is wasted every year, the impact it has on the planet, and how we can all help to tackle it.”

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