Tackling food waste

Some unpalatable facts about food waste

  • The UK wastes almost 10 million tonnes of food every year.*
  • 65% of UK adults admit to buying too much food that is then thrown away.*
  • 24 million slices of bread are thrown away every day.*
  • 100 million pints of milk are tipped down the drain each year in the UK**
  • Food production generates 25-30% of global greenhouse gases*
  • The agricultural supply chain uses 70% of global freshwater reserves*
  • One third of all food produced across the globe is wasted**
  • 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to eat and going hungry.*

sources *The Felix Project **Friends of the Earth

Tackling food waste is an important step in reducing our carbon footprint and at the bottom of this page we have listed some helpful resources for steps we can take as individuals. But first, we want to share information on local schemes. Working together we can achieve so much more.

Community Fridges and Supermarkets

Community fridges are generally run by volunteers and work with local supermarkets and food suppliers to collect surplus food. The food is then sold on at low cost, or for voluntary contributions.

Food Partnerships

Food partnerships are being set up in cities, towns and communities across the UK. They aim to start conversations about local food issues and bring people together to share skills and build better food systems and food security for all.

Allotment surplus

If you have an allotment and find you have produced more food than you can use, there may be local schemes that you can share your food with:

  • Eastbourne: You can take surplus produce to Gorringe Road allotment site office and it ill be picked up by the local foodbank.

In Willingdon and many other areas, residents are sharing surplus produce from their front gardens. picture

Community composting & home composting

When food that is no longer edible, a community compost is a great solution for people without a garden or space for compost bins. It reduces the amount of waste going to the incinerator and provides free compost without taking up space in your garden.

Community compost

The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership supports nearly 40 community composts.

How it works

A set of compost bins are placed in a park or green space. People sign up to join a scheme where they’re given the code to a lock on the bins where they can add their vegetable scraps and plant waste. Training is given about what can go in the bins. Monitors look after the bins and the compost can be taken or used by nearby community gardens.

two wooden compost bins in front of a leafy hedge
label on compost bin providing information on what can be composted. this includes uncooked food and vegetable waste, tea bags and coffee grounds, flowers, uncoated cardboard, torn into postcard-sized pieces, egg boxes and loo rolls, shredded paper. items that can not be composted here include compostable bags, avocado stones, cooked food, meat, pasta, bread, rice, dairy, plastic, glass or metal, cat litter or animal faeces, egg shells, garden waste

Pledge idea: Have you thought about setting up a compost bin in your community?

Home composting

If you have a garden, home composting is the most environment-friendly way to dispose of your kitchen and garden waste. There are many different types of compost systems but they will fall into one of two groups.

  • Traditional garden composter: suitable only for garden trimmings, raw fruit and vegetable, nuts, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper and cardboard
  • Food compost systems, such as  Green ConesGreen JohannasHotBins , Wormeries and Bokashi bins suitable for both raw and cooked food, including dairy, fish, meat etc.

With a Bokashi bin, your food waste ferments through an anaerobic process. Virtually all the carbon, energy and nutrients go straight into the soil without releasing greenhouse gases. See a Willingdon residents journey with Bokashi bins on The Willing website.

For traditional garden composting, tt is better to have two compost bins. You could build them out of old pallets to fit a space or buy plastic bins cheaply from the council or second hand. Fill one up, cover over and leave to turn into compost while you fill the other bin. It is better to turn the rotting compost over with a garden fork once in a while to help it rot down.

Why compost?

  • Cuts down on waste in your bin which means less waste burned in the incinerator.
  • Food waste makes your bin smell.
  • Saves buying compost for your garden which saves money, plastic and transporting goods.
  • At the moment, most shop bought compost contains peat. Digging up peat destroys our
  • environment.
  • Compost gives plants nutrients to help them grow strong and healthy.
  • Compost improves your soil which also means less watering is needed.

Resources from external sources

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