Outcome E: Food Waste

“Reduce food related waste – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”

What we are trying to do

To work with consumers and those involved to reduce wastage of food and resources in the production and distribution of food.
To work with people and organisations to reduce the food wasted at consumer level, including redistributing food that is not used.
To reduce the waste associated with packaging of food.
To increase the recycling of waste that is produced.

Why we are trying to do it

It is estimated that we waste a third of all food that is produced every year, which is 7 million tonnes of food.
Farms often throw away large amounts of quality food, simply because it is not the shape or size demanded by the supermarkets. Around 30% of fruit and vegetables grown in the UK are not even harvested because of this. The food industry wastes 3 million tonnes of food every year simply because of faulty packaging, ordering mistakes and a short shelf life.
Each household on average wastes £480 of food a year. In Lambeth, 15% of all food purchased is wasted.
As well as being unethical, food waste also means more food than necessary is produced and distributed, which has an impact on food security and availability for all. It also means that people are wasting money, on food they don’t use.
However, progress is being made; the amount of food being thrown away in the UK by households has fallen by 13%. There are also projects that are helping to reduce food being wasted.
Lambeth Council has a waste management strategy which proposes actions and suggests supporting communities to reduce food waste by sharing skills for reducing food waste, promoting cooking and shopping tips on how to reduce food waste, creating a food waste strategy in conjunction with charities and businesses and recycling food.
The Local Greens project described earlier prevents food waste by delivering left over produce to food banks. There are organisations that collect good food that would be thrown away from the catering and food industries and redistribute these to charities such as hostels, refuges, day centres, breakfast clubs and food banks. One of these organisations is called FareShare and and manages to redistribute food to 5,000 people every day.

What you can do