Love Food Hate Waste campaign shows results
Fifty thousand pounds worth of savings made through reduced waste disposal costs.
Oxfordshire council-tax payers have saved over £50,000 in waste disposal costs by throwing away less food since Oxfordshire Waste Partnership (OWP) launched its Love Food Hate Waste campaign last March (1).
Research has shown that fifteen percent of Oxfordshire residents are classed as Committed Food Reducers: an increase from twelve percent in 2009 and above the current national average of thirteen percent (2). Currently thirty seven percent of people in Oxfordshire make a great deal of effort to minimise their food waste compared to thirty three percent nationally with over one third of people in the county bothered a great deal by food waste compared to just under a quarter nationally (3).
Paul Mocroft from OWP who coordinates the campaign on behalf of all Oxfordshire councils is delighted with how people have taken some of the key messages on board. “It’s interesting talking to the public about their cooking habits and finding ways to help them save money,” says Paul. “Whether through planning, storage or preparation we can all learn new tips: I’ve even picked up a few pointers myself!”
Councils across the county are at different stages of introducing new recycling collections for food waste (4), and officers felt this was the best time to get residents to think about how much food they throw away.
Chair of OWP, Cllr John Tanner says: “The new food waste collection schemes are a great success in keeping rotting food out of landfill. But even better not to throw away food we've paid for in the first place. So it's great to see more Oxfordshire residents reducing the amount of food they throw away. It saves money all round for householders and for councils."
- In February 2009 twelve percent of Oxfordshire households were 'Committed Food Waste Reducers’, saving two thousand five hundred tonnes of food being sent to landfill and avoiding waste disposal costs of £138,028. Currently fifteen percent of Oxfordshire households are Committed Food Waste Reducers, saving three thousand one hundred and twenty six tonnes of food being sent to landfill and avoiding waste disposal costs of £189,488.
- A ‘Committed Food Waste Reducer’ is defined as someone who throws away hardly any or no uneaten food, is bothered a great deal about throwing away uneaten food and puts a great deal of effort into minimising the amount of uneaten food they throw away. Research was recently carried out and compared with that undertaken prior to the launch of the campaign in February 2009.
- The percentage of people making a great deal of effort to minimise food waste increased by six percent, from thirty one percent pre-campaign to thirty seven percent, above the national average of thirty three percent. The percentage of people being bothered a great deal by food waste also increased by three percent, from thirty one percent pre-campaign to thirty four percent, above the national average of twenty four percent.
- Cherwell, Oxford City and South Oxfordshire have introduced food waste recycling schemes. Vale and West Oxfordshire will start collecting food waste as part of their new contracts starting in October and November respectively. Through contractors Agrivert, Oxfordshire County Council has provided the county’s first food waste recycling plant; an In-Vessel Composting Plant at Ardley. A second plant is under construction; an Anaerobic Digestion Plant at Cassington.
- Nationally since the Love Food Hate Waste campaign launched, two million homes are feeling the benefits of cutting back on the food they waste, saving £400 million.
- Key facts from the Love Food Hate Waste campaign:
- £12 billion worth of food is thrown out every year in UK homes. Householders are throwing out on average £480/year. This increases to £680/year for families with children – or £50 per month.
- We throw food out for two main reasons: 1) we let food go off, either completely untouched, or opened/started but not finished, costing £6.7 billion per year.; 2) we cook or prepare too much, costing us £4.8 billion per year
- Wasting food has a huge environmental impact. If we stopped throwing food away, it would save the equivalent of at least 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s like taking one in every four cars off our roads.
- Food waste is damaging to the environment because producing, storing and getting the food to our homes uses a lot of energy and resources: all of which are wasted when food gets binned. When this food reaches landfill sites it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.