It’s almost impossible to go a week now without a major report of one kind or another highlighting the scandal of food waste, whether it’s Tesco’s fessing up to 68% of its bagged salad ending up in the bin, or, as is the case last week, a new campaign to see zero food waste going to landfill by 2020. And that’s not mentioning Tristram Stuart and Thomasina Miers’ effort to change European law to allow us to feed catering waste to pigs – The Pig Idea.
Where food waste really scores as an issue above many others, as our recent consumer research shows, is that people can see the economic, environmental and social impact. Economically – it’s a no-brainer – the average household is throwing out about £600 worth of food a year and for restaurants, the SRA calculates that a 20% reduction would save them in the region of £5,000. Environmentally – just think of all the water, energy, labour, transport etc that ends up being wasted. And finally socially, we appear to have reached a consensus that food waste is immoral, while ever increasing numbers use food banks in the UK and millions starve globally.
So we’re all agreed that something needs to be done and plenty of organisations are taking action. Where the point of difference lies is in the focus of that action. The waste hierarchy is clear that reusing or recycling must come before any conversation about responsible disposal. But it appears that many of the, albeit laudable, initiatives are targeting better disposal rather than the waste at source.
The new study, Vision 2020: UK Roadmap to Zero Food Waste to Landfill appears, at least in the way it has been reported, to focus on responsible disposal methods. However, if you read the report there is plenty in there about reducing waste at all stages of the food chain. The Waste Action Resources Programme’s latest report, while still revealing shocking levels of waste in the home, including 86 million chickens, does show encouraging reductions.
This is surely where we all need to focus our attention – on helping consumers and businesses waste less food. To that end we’re really pleased to be part of the Greater London Authority’s new campaign, FoodSave, to help food businesses’ do just that – saving them money, relieving pressure on landfill and reducing carbon dioxide.
So, if you run a Small or Medium Sized business, operating a pub, restaurant, hotel, canteen or quick service restaurant and you think you could do with some help reducing your food waste and disposing of it responsibly, then now’s the time to contact us. Over the next 18 months we’ll be flat out providing London food businesses with really practical help, so that by March 2015 we’ll have saved them £360,000 and prevented more than 1,000 tonnes of food waste being sent to landfill.
If you’re a food business – do please contact us by email or on 020 7479 4245 to get involved in FoodSave. If you’re a diner – rest assured that a year and half from now, London restaurants will be wasting considerably less food.
FoodSave Twitter – @FoodWasteLondon