Residents from across north London have pledged to cut their food waste as part of a European waste reduction initiative.
Every year in the UK, £16 million worth of turkey, 359,000 tonnes of potatoes and £40 million of sweets and chocolates are thrown away. In recognition of this a series of Love Food Hate Waste roadshows across seven north London boroughs have bought residents together to learn to be food winners, not food wasters.
The campaign was organised by the North London Waste Authority in conjunction with the London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest as part of the European Week of Waste Reduction (EWWR).
Each roadshow featured interactive games, such as the Wheel of Food, which showed how typical leftover ingredients can reduced, reused and recycled - through freezing, using as pet food, turning into soup, or composting, for example. Other activities showcased the importance of getting portion sizes correct, how to store food properly and how to plan meals.
Food Waste Advisers were on hand to give out reusable bags, leaflets and recipe cards, and to answer questions from residents. They offered top tips on everything from how to keep carrots fresher for longer (keep them in cold water in the fridge); to using up Christmas leftovers.
North London resident Nick Gerber, 27, attended one of the roadshows and was shocked to find out how much food is thrown away.
"I can't believe most people throw away about £420 worth of food each year," he said. "I stopped at the stand on my way to the supermarket and it's definitely made me reconsider the way I shop. So today I'm only going to buy things I know I'll use, and I'm already planning what I can do with my leftovers."
Nick joined hundreds of other residents in taking a pledge to reduce the amount of food waste he creates. A selection of lucky pledgers from each borough will win an organic fruit and vegetable basket to thank them for taking the pledge.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Chair of the NLWA, said: "Food waste is a serious issue and has a major impact on the environment. If we stopped wasting food which could have been eaten, it would have the same impact on carbon emissions as taking one in five cars off UK roads.
"These roadshows were a brilliant way of giving residents the information they need to reduce the amount of food they throw away and we were delighted to see so many people taking pledges to reduce their food waste."
To find out more about how reducing your food waste can cut your costs, and your environmental impact please visit LoveFoodHateWaste.
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Notes to Editors
European Week of Waste Reduction (EWWR)
EWWR was coordinated by the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management (ACR+) and took place between 22nd and 30th November 2008.
ACR+ is a European network of around 90, mainly local authority, members who share the aim of promoting sustainable resource consumption and waste management through prevention at source, reuse and recycling.
The North London Waste Authority
The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) was established in 1986 and is the waste disposal authority for Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest. This means its primary function is to arrange the transport and disposal of waste collected by these boroughs. It is the second largest waste disposal authority in the country.
Research and further facts
The research data is from WRAP (Waste & Resource Action Programme), where you can find a copy of the report.