Guest blog by The Eco Rotary Club

In the midst of a pandemic our priorities as humans change. This is natural, it’s how we survive. What is sad to see though is the negative effects that some of our behaviour changes bring about.

One of the outcomes of recent panic buying is the increase of food waste. Many people don’t know what to do with the extra food bought, don’t plan their meals therefore end up with items out of date, or just don’t worry about food waste in general so don’t consider it an issue. Some of the images banded around the internet at the moment show huge amounts of food wasted in household bins. This includes food in plastic packaging, placed in food caddies, that then means the whole caddy of food may end up in landfill instead of being composted to produce energy.

These images sparked discussion in a recent Eco Rotary Club meeting, leading to one member, Craig Sales-Jackson, producing the below article and poster aimed at raising awareness of food waste.

The Eco Rotary Club covering Shropshire and Staffordshire, was set up to bring together a group of like minded individuals focused on supporting eco initiatives in their local community. If you have green expertise, are Midlands based and would like to be involved, you can join their Facebook group Eco Rotary – Northwest Midlands.

Craig Sales-Jackson is an Undergraduate studying BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences. He is part of the Eco Rotary Club in his spare time. We think this is a great post and look forward to seeing more from the group in the future.

Eco Rotary Club – Food Waste Tips

By Craig Sales-Jackson

Many of us are aware of the food waste recycling scheme brought in by the council. Some of us may be experts, whereas, others may not be as experienced. Here are some tips put together by your local Eco Rotary club to help you cut down on household waste, save some money and help the planet. If you find this useful, please share with your family and friends.

What is the food waste recycling / collection incentive?

The food waste recycling service initiated by many councils collects our food waste that we place in our supplied food waste bins. Although it has taken some time to be adopted, the majority of households now take part.

The scheme is a government intervention aiming to reduce the amount of wasted food that makes its way to the general bin. Information released by parliament, detailed that in 2018 as a nation the overall amount of separated food waste from the bin was 229,372kg – which is a lot better than the 7.3 million tonnes in 2015.

An average family wastes £700 per year on food that is thrown away “- Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) report, 2015

The most recent report from Telford and Wrekin council stated that as a borough we recycled 410.44 tonnes of food waste at the kerbside in February 2020.

Separating food from the generic bin would give less motive for little critters to rip their way in and make a mess, it would also mean less bin juice being traced through the garden, house and or over your feet! The most direct way to tackle the exclusion of food in the bin, is to bring in a new one dedicated to the cause, sound the arrival of the food caddie!

87 tonnes of food waste was collected by Telford and Wrekin Council alone in the first week of collecting caddies around the town in 2019

What are the benefits of the scheme?

  • REDUCED SMELL – Decreasing the smell and bin juice producing factor of the normal black bin bag.
  • REDUCED PESTS – Reducing the likelihood that animals come for a late-night Art Attack session with the contents.
  • PRODUCTION OF GREEN ENERGY – The collected food is then taken away and included in the nationwide production of green energy. The methane produced by the decomposing food can be harvested and upcycled to produce electric, heat and power vehicles.
  • REDUCED PLASTIC WASTE – Cutting down on the amount of black bin bags used per week/month/year per household.

How to prepare your family and home for the food waste recycling initiative

1. Remind yourself and the family about what can and cannot go into the food waste bin;

  • Food cooked and uncooked
  • Cheese
  • Eggs and eggshells
  • Bones
  • Meat and fish
  • Fruit and vegetable
  • Bread and pastries
  • Tea (bagged or loose) and coffee grounds
  • Coffee filters
  • Mouldy or out of date food
  • Sauce’s (i.e. packet/jar/condiments)
  • Pet food
  • All uneaten food including plate scrapings

2. Place the outside food caddy where it won’t be forgotten. One less bin to worry about (when collecting in the morning or when you remember you forgot to put it out last night, so you rush putting it out before 7 o’clock).

3. Remind everyone in the family to remove any gone off food from its packaging and place in the food caddy, NOT the general rubbish bin as this goes to landfill.

4. Makes sure family and friends understand the importance of food caddies. They reduce items from landfill so that less harmful gases are produced that contribute to global warming, plus they actually produce green energy to be used instead of burning fossil fuels.

Game changing ideas for leftovers and how to reduce your waste output

Drain liquid – Before putting food in the caddies, try to drain as much liquid as possible. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of flies in the house and leftover juices once collected.

Ensure packaging is removed – After collection, the food waste undergoes a process of recycling. Any leftover packaging can cause contamination meaning the processed waste cannot be used.

Grow your own – Starting a grow your own system in the garden makes you more self-sufficient and ensures food is picked when needed, reducing waste.

Start composting – Starting a compost system means food waste can be reused to provide nutrients for food your are growing. Unsure where to start? Check out your local master composters.

Portion sizes – Controlling meal portion sizes prevents wasted food in the first place.

Get the most out of ingredients – Plan your meals and get inspired with new recipes based on the food you already have.

Want to know more?

Take a look at Love Food Hate Waste for some great tips.

Why should you get involved in the food waste recycling scheme?, Telford and Wrekin Council supplied caddies dimensions, how to manage your caddies and what to put in them.

Brilliant ideas of how to reduce food wastage and how to get the most out of your ingredients.

Wanting to know more about your waste and how efficient the Telford and Wrekin council are at collecting it?

Search ‘Food waste [year]’ in the search bar to find more info on the government inquires and interventions:

Eco Rotary – Northwest Midlands

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot