Christmas countdown #8 – love food hate waste

The #lovefoodhatewaste hashtag has gained momentum on social media and for good reason. With the economic landscape looking bleak for a lot of people, particularly around Christmas time, we are becoming more and more aware of sustainability and becoming a more eco-friendly society. That, and the startling figure that UK households waste 6.5 million tonnes of food every year, 4.5 million of which is edible.

Bread is one of the most disposed of products in the UK after the humble potato with the equivalent of 20 million slices of bread being thrown away in UK homes every day. This equates to around 1 million loaves a day or 900,000 tonnes of bread each year. Around 44% of all bread produced here in the UK is thrown away which could potentially feed breakfast to around 10 million people.

Winner of 3rd place in the ‘Baking’ category of the Ross in Lockdown photo competition 2020 – Ben Dean from the Loughpool Bakery

There are lots of ways you can become more sustainable and the Love Food Hate Waste website is a great place to start. ‘Saving food means saving money‘ they say and advise that ‘The average family of four can save just over £60 per month by reducing their food waste. Whether you’re doing the food shop or ordering a meal at a restaurant, every decision is an opportunity to save food from the bin. If you don’t want a side salad, ask for your meal without it. If you won’t make good use of the extra portion, don’t be tempted by it. And if you can’t finish your main, ask for a doggy bag! Food is made to be loved, so that’s what we should do.’ The facts and figures that the Love Food Hate Waste movement claims are also astounding. At least one-third of all edible food produced across the world is never eaten – enough food to feed 2 billion people (just over a quarter of the world’s population) and global food waste generates 22 million tonnes of greenhouse gases – four times more than all aeroplanes put together.

The innovative Ross Food Hub, which set up its ‘Zero Waste Stall’ in November 2020, is already helping the community to save money and utilise the surplus food which local supermarkets would normally throw out. The project, led by Tim Shelley, not only gives away surplus vegetables and fruit but also has a variety of other produce such as frozen chickens, mince pies and baked products depending on what is being disposed of by the supermarkets each week. At the end of November, they counted around 40 people who had visited the stall and benefited from 144 kg of surplus food which didn’t go to landfill. The stall is located in Old Gloucester Road in Ross-on-Wye and is open weekly from Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 12.30pm. You can contact them by emailing them at zerowastestall@gmail.com.

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