Reduce & Recycle Your Food Waste For British Tomato Week
In 2015 UK households threw away over 7 million tonnes of food. Most of it was still edible and could have been avoided.
Although food is an organic material it does not simply decompose in landfill as air cannot get to it. Instead it rots in the ground and releases the harmful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. The loss of edible food also means a waste of resources like energy and water that goes into the production, transport and storage of the food along the supply chain.
Love Food Hate Waste
The average family could save up to £60 a month which adds up to £700 a year by minimising their food waste at home. There are a few simple ways of avoiding food waste that could also save you some money too…
- You could try out a new recipe using up your leftovers or fruit and veg that look a little past their best
- Try some clever storage tips to make your food last longer e.g. freezing your eggs
- Buy only as much as you need instead of the prepacked portions that may be too much and you risk not using up.
Unfortunately, we all waste food in some way as there is very little we can do about unavoidable food waste like chicken bones, coffee grounds or tea bags. We all also know that moment when you find that bit of cheese in the fridge that you bought ages ago but now it’s furry and a familiar shade of green and black from mould; or those leftovers you wanted to eat the next day but forgot about it and it’s now gone off.
All is not lost though as your food waste can still come in handy!
Almost half of the councils in the UK offer a food waste collection. They collect uneaten food, plate scrapings, mouldy or out of date food, tea bag and coffee grounds, baked goods, dairy products, egg shells, rice, pasta, meat and fish, bones, fruit and vegetable peelings which can all be put in your food caddy for collection.
However, there are some food items that cannot be recycled such as liquids e.g. milk and oil or liquid fat. It is also important to take the food out of all packaging before putting it into your caddy and not to put any non-food material in it, including nappies.
What happens to my food waste?
Collected food waste can be processed in two ways – anaerobic digestion or in-vessel composting. During anaerobic digestion microorganisms break down the food waste. This process releases methane as well but it gets collected and is turned into a biogas to generate electricity, heat or transport fuel. While anaerobic digestion is used for food waste only, in-vessel composting usually uses a mix of food and garden waste. The compost produced is used in agriculture, landscaping and horticulture. Home composting is also an option if your council does not offer food waste collections. Check out our home composting guide on getting started. Check your council’s website and see if they offer a compost bin!
What can you do now? If you don’t already recycle your food waste, then check your council’s website and see if they can provide you with a food caddy. No better time to get started than Food Waste Recycling Week. Also have a look at our website filled with useful tips and the Love Food Hate Waste website with many tasty recipes. As it’s also British Tomato Week this week (22nd – 28th) why not try the amazing looking Tomato and Couscous Salad to use up your tomatoes from last week’s shop?
If you would like to chat to us about food waste and recycling then check us out at an event near you soon. We’ve got loads of ideas on how you can use up your leftovers or you can come grab a handy tool to help you avoid food waste.