Campaign to cut ‘staggering’ 50,000 tonnes of Suffolk food waste and its ‘incredible’ cost to families
PUBLISHED: 06:04 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:22 17 September 2018
A new scheme to reduce Suffolk households’ food waste launches today with ambitions to save families hundreds of pounds each year – and millions for the taxpayer.
The Food Savvy campaign, led by environmental charity Hubbub in partnership with Suffolk and Norfolk councils, seeks to unite businesses, schools and community groups, as well as influential figures such as chefs, bloggers and celebrities to highlight the issue.
Suffolk families reportedly waste around £810 of edible food each year, while the cost of disposing of it at the Great Blakenham energy from waste facility costs around £4.5m annually.
Campaign leaders say “small changes”, such as planning what meals to cook, checking the fridge regularly and making the most of leftovers, can achieve “big differences”.
Kick-starting the campaign this week, Food Savvy will be leading activities to raise awareness of the impact of food waste and offering tools to help people change their habits.
Hubbub chief executive Trewin Restorick said food waste had an “incredible” impact on family budgets, cost councils millions and is bad for the environment.
“We hope that by showing people the impact of food waste and helping them to make a positive change, the campaign will benefit not only the community and the wider environment but individual’s own pockets, too,” he added.
“We’re not talking about massive lifestyle changes – small changes really can make a big difference.”
Seasonal campaigns are set to tie in with peak times of waste, such as a Halloween-themed ‘pumpkin rescue’ cooking programme, a Christmas ‘festive freeze’ and pre-holiday ‘travellers check’ initiative.
Other planned activities include educational initiatives about key behaviours related to waste, such as date label confusion and storage advice, family-focussed events about items that are frequently wasted, and challenges to save families £70 a month.
Food Savvy is also set to launch “innovative trials” with households, bloggers, vloggers and will provide resources to schools to educate young people as well as employee engagement campaigns for the workplace.
With a recent poll finding 86% of people in Suffolk and Norfolk are worried about food waste, 53% admit to feeling guilty about it and 39% say they would like to reduce the amount they waste, campaign leaders say they expect Food Savvy will “strike a chord” with households.
Suffolk Waste Partnership chairman David Bowman said households in the county throw away a “staggering” 50,000 tonnes of food every year.
“As a rural county producing many delicious foods and drinks, this is terrible wastage and something we must tackle,” he added.
“We are therefore thrilled to be launching this collaborative project with Hubbub and our colleagues at Norfolk County Council.
“We are also inviting local people, community groups and businesses to join us on this innovative journey that will help save families money and protect our beautiful region.”
The first stage of Food Savvy will run for two years before its most successful elements are scaled up in a bid to cut food waste by 20% by 2025.
Visit Food Savvy and follow #FoodSavvy on social media to find out more.
The scale of Suffolk’s food waste
Suffolk council bosses have revealed the “staggering” scale – and cost – of food waste in the county.
According to the latest Suffolk County Council figures, household rubbish contained approximately 52,000 tonnes of food waste per year – around 35% of all waste collected from residents’ rubbish bins.
Of this, around 20,000 tonnes was found to be unopened or packaged food.
Processing food waste at the Great Blakenham energy from waste facility costs the Suffolk taxpayer around £4.5 million per year.
The council said household recycling bins go to a separate facility, while composting bins go to other around the county. “Suffolk is committed to reducing, reusing and recycling our household waste, in all its forms, wherever possible,” a council spokesman added.
Separate figures show households throw out around £810 of food away each year, which could be saved by following Food Savvy advice.
Family saved money and made food go further
The Scriggins family took part in the Food Savvy challenge - and say it was a “fantastic experience” which saved money and made food go further.
Mum, Caroline, said the key to success was getting familiar with her fridge and freezer and taking stock before shopping to avoid doubling up.
“I also keep a close eye on dates if something is nearing the use by date freeze I it,” she added.
“Another tool that has helped me greatly reduce our food waste is meal plans as I only purchase what I need and doing an online shop has meant I am not swayed by offers either. I have a nice selection of meal plans to choose from now and have learnt to include a couple of “freezer or store cupboard meals” which allows us to be more flexible when plans change.
“One of my favourite store cupboard meals are quesadillas. They are easy to make and I use grated cheese and tortillas straight from the freezer and add other things that I have in the fridge e.g. some leftover pesto, cooked or roasted vegetables or left over chicken.
“I also feel, since taking the challenge the whole family is more involved in deciding what we are having for dinner and being part of the process means they are more likely to try new things too.
“Taking the part in the challenge has been a fantastic experience that really helped us save money and makes the food go further.”