Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


1 Comment

Sainsbury’s reveals we are what we waste

  • The average Brit could save more than double the amount they think they can
  • The average household could save £50 a month by avoiding food waste
  • 46% admit that they don’t know the correct ways to store food
  • Sainsbury’s reveals a set of waste ‘typologies’ to help people identify the ways they waste food

According to new research carried out by Sainsbury’s, Brits think they bin almost 10% of their weekly shop whereas actually it’s more than double that. The research has identified six types of people, each of whom wastes food in a different way.

 Despite tough economic times, supporting analysis carried out by WRAP reveals that British shoppers are unnecessarily throwing away an incredible £12 billion worth of food a year.  Furthermore, if UK households tackled avoidable food waste, they would save an average of £50 a month.

 The research reveals that people waste food in a variety of different ways according to their lifestyles and beliefs.  To find the best ways to tackle the problem, Sainsbury’s is working with Love Food Hate Waste

 Jack Cunningham, Sainsbury’s head of climate change and environment, said: “No one wants to waste food, but unpredictable lifestyles and hectic schedules mean many think it is unavoidable.  By recognising which type of shopper they are, customers can learn to plan meals more effectively, cutting waste and reducing household costs.”

 Hungry Hoarders, who make up 11% of theUK adult population, shop while hungry, resulting in impulse purchases.  They often fail to plan ahead meaning their shop might not create complete meals.

 Another key offender is the Ditsy Diarist, who currently accounts for 9% of the population. Ditsy Diarists do not consult their little black books before their trip to the supermarket and as they eat out a lot or work late, much of what they buy sits unused in the fridge and is eventually thrown away.

 Other groups that have surfaced are the Food Phobics (25%) – who are ultra-conscious and throw away food on or before the best before date without first checking its condition.  The Separate Shoppers are a generation of independent individuals who buy their own food without checking what their partner or housemate has already bought, often resulting in duplication.

 However all is not lost, some people are a far more careful about food waste. Topping the list are the Freezer Geezers – those who simply love their leftovers and use their freezers effectively to minimise food waste. Similarly, Conscientious Consumers are a group who love to make meals out of leftovers. Freezer Geezers and Conscientious Consumers combined make up 44% of the population.

 Food waste has become a hot topic over recent years, and the majority (67%) of consumers admit they do not always plan their shopping trips by making a list or meal planning, instead deciding what to buy while in the store. 46% admit that they do not know the correct ways to store food.

 Keen to tackle this problem head on, Sainsbury’s is introducing a raft of new measures to help reduce the amount of food wasted by:

  •  Working in conjunction with Love Food Hate Waste to train in-store counter colleagues up and down the country so that colleagues are on hand to give customers practical tips and advice to help reduce their household food waste
  • Providing tips and recipe ideas on how to use leftovers on lovefoodhatewaste.com

 Emma Marsh, Head of Love Food Hate Waste from WRAP said: “The industry has a huge role to play in helping reduce the amount of food we waste and we are working together to achieve solid results. Our research shows, for example, that Brits throw away around 37 million slices of bread a day in the UK and we have a long way to go to prevent this. We hope that by working with Sainsbury’s, we will help individuals enjoy their food more by learning to love their leftovers, which will help the environment and save money.”

 Defra Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister, Lord Taylor continues: “Too much food gets wasted, which is not only bad for the household budget, but also bad for businesses’ bottom line. Since publishing the Waste Review we’ve introduced new guidance on food date labelling to help clear up confusion for customers and stop good food going to waste. We have also set up responsibility deals with the food industry to tackle waste in the supply chain and help them to save money.

 “The government-backed Love Food Hate Waste campaign also provides advice to consumers on how to avoid food going to waste and the Government is leading by example after introducing standards requiring caterers to reduce what we throw away.”

 Find out more at lovefoodhatewaste.com or ‘Like’ us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LoveFoodHateWasteCommunity


1 Comment

A ‘Cheesy’ Story.

As families look for ways to save money on their household bills, many of us aren’t aware that food waste not only hits us in the pocket – up to £50 a month – but has a serious impact on the environment too. Think of a pack of cheese. The resources that go into maintaining the land, raising cows, processing the milk into cheese, transporting the cheese, refrigeration (both in transit and at the shop), packaging and advertising, getting us to the shop to buy it – it would be a crying shame if any of it went in the bin, but it does. In the UK we throw away the equivalent of more than three million slices of cheese a day! But it’s easy for us all to make a real difference. 

Love Food Hate Waste, in partnership with Lewisham Council, has some great solutions to help us reduce the amount of food we throw away. Here’s a nice cheesy one. Hard cheeses can be frozen then grated without defrosting to use as pizza toppings or cheese on toast. Stilton freezes really well without grating and can be defrosted for the cheese board, a quiche or soup. Cheese can also be kept fresher if you wrap it in foil. For more information on storage, freezing tips and great recipe ideas visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

(photo: Suat Eman)


Leave a comment

Capital Growth’s £35,000 boost to get Londoners growing food

The Mayor is calling for more green-fingered volunteers to step up and join Capital Growth by bidding for a share of £35,000 now available to budding community food gardening groups.

In this latest round of money available through Capital Growth, any community group with a plot of land ready to grow on, can apply for up to £750 to help them get growing. The Mayor launched Capital Growth in 2008 with the charity London Food Link to help green the city, boost volunteering and improve quality of life. The Mayor sees Capital Growth as a key part of his Team London initiative to encourage Londoner’s to get out and get engaged with volunteering in their communities. Capital Growth to date has already engaged 35,000 people in community food growing projects in London making it the biggest contributor to the Mayor’s Team London programme.

Capital Growth provides a practical response to the rising interest in ‘grow your own’ and to the fact that lengthening waiting lists for allotments that can be decades long. Any Londoner keen to volunteer with other members of their community to cultivate a thriving food garden are eligible to apply for a grant until the closing date of November 7th this year. There are now more than 1300 Capital Growth projects running involving more than 35,000 people, most of whom are volunteering.

Previous grant rounds to date have offered financial help to 559 projects to get started. Recipients will generally use their money to pay for equipment such as tools, soil, compost, and wood for raised beds. Those interested in benefiting from future funding rounds should register with Capital Growth to ensure they don’t miss out.

This grant round comes as a new and independent report by City and Guilds has found that community food growing projects can play an important role in helping to improve people’s work skills and employability as well as gain confidence. The report used several Capital Growth projects as well as other community food gardens to underpin its findings.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: ‘Volunteering to improve your local environment is not only great fun and a cheap source of healthy food, but an important way for some people to gain valuable skills. Capital Growth has been a fantastic success in helping bring green fingered Londoners together and I hope this latest cash incentive will get even more people to sign up and join my Team London army.’

Paola Guzman from Sustain the organisation that manage Capital Growth, commented: “Over the last 3 years of the campaign, we have seen the huge benefits that food growing can bring to communities.  More than 1,300 communities across London are now receiving support from Capital Growth. In these difficult economic times, we know that communities need extra support, so we hope these grants will be able to help. ”

A previous recipient of a Capital Growth grant is Cranbrook Community Food Garden in Tower Hamlets. A disused piece of land in the Cranbrook Estate was converted in 2009 into a beautiful food-growing garden. A grant of £750 allowed the group of residents to purchase soil and seeds and other materials necessary to start. The garden generated so much attention that the local council took notice and awarded them further funding. Cranbrook Community Food Garden has been a catalyst for wider community engagement in the estate and is the space where neighbours share experiences and food.

Janet Burns who currently manages the Cranbrook site said, “Since I started coming to the garden I feel like a part of my local community. I have met more neighbours and share a cuppa with them. This garden is a wonderful place where all my neighbours have worked really hard.”

Capital Growth has seen a wide range of community groups applying for the grants programme in the past such as doctor surgeries, universities, businesses, shelter housing projects, tenants and residents associations, faith and cultural groups and many more. Partner organisations include 18 borough councils, ten housing associations, Transport for London and British Waterways. Capital Growth also runs competitions to get schools and housing estates growing.


Leave a comment

Freshers Love Food and Hate Waste

 

The Environment and Community Development (ECD) Team recently visited Goldsmiths University to promote the Love Food Hate Waste campaign at the Freshers Fayre.

The event was over two days and was held in a large marquee just off Laurie Grove where hundreds of new students were in attendance. The ECD team occupied a table amongst the many clubs and societies and spoke to well over 400 students.

 Communicating the Love Food Hate Waste message at the freshers fayre was a great promotional opportunity for the Council and also a great opportunity for the students to learn more about how to prolong the life of food and shop wisely right at the beginning of their time at university.

 Amongst some of the hints and tips being given to the new students were things like extending the life of lettuce by washing and draining it, wrapping it in paper towel and then storing it in a plastic bag in the fridge. This will extend the life of a lettuce for an extra to 4 to 5 days. We also told them that if eggs were at their use by date and they were going away, then why not crack them into an airtight container and freeze them until they return and use them for scrambled eggs or in a recipe.

 Lots of recipes were also given away that gave suggestions on what to do with leftovers from meals as well as spaghetti measurers and measuring spoons so that people would use the exact ingredients when cooking. This way they wouldn’t need to make extra trips to the shops for more ingredients and spend more of their budget when they didn’t need to.

 All the giveaways and tips were well received by the students who could see the real value in shopping sensibly and planning meals in advance as well as making greater use of the freezer to ensure that food lasted much longer.

 One key tip that we gave out to the students was to visit the following website http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ as this is a valuable resource for saving money and time, finding out information on storing food correctly as well as being packed with lots of easy and simple recipes for nutritious dishes.


Leave a comment

“Leftovers” ft. Lewisham

Students at Goldsmiths College, New Cross produced this excellent video as part of their final year Media and Communications project. It discusses the fact that in the UK we throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food waste every year and highlights the issues associated with this in terms of the huge waste of resources.

The video features interviews with food waste experts including our very own Waste Prevention Officers – Kristina Binns and David Brinson (torso only), as well as students from St Augustines R.C Primary School.

For tips on what can and can’t be frozen, portion sizes, better food storage to make your food last longer, hundreds of recipes to inspire you and help use up your leftovers visit the www.lovefoodhatewaste.com website.


Leave a comment

Lewisham’s recycling rate gets a mention

Yesterday Lewisham’s recycling rate was cited on the Guardian Environment Blog so I thought it would be appropriate to provide a response on our own blog (which was also mentioned). 

The first issue that needs raising is that the blog posting appears to favour incineration as a means of waste disposal, referencing Germany as an example of good practice. The blog then describes Lewisham’s recycling rate as miserable and poses the question “Do you actually like landfill tips, Lewisham?”. The latest comparable data (2008/9) shows that Lewisham has the 4th lowest rate of municipal waste sent to landfill in the country and an even lower rate for household waste at 3.72% (although this figure is now a couple of years old it is unlikely that it will have changed significantly). The majority of waste in Lewisham is incinerated, and that waste is turned into electricity which is in turn fed into the national grid. So the answer would be no we don’t like landfill tips. 

Secondly I would like to address the issue of our recycling rate of 16.8%, firstly this is a low recycling rate when compared to other Local Authorities nationally, however it is slightly unfair to be comparing the recycling rates in Lewisham with those in Staffordshire Moorlands (62%). The inner city demographics of Lewisham provide additional challenges in terms of sustainable waste management, including differing housing stocks, lack of and size of gardens and storage as well as a higher proportion of hard to engage groups with transient populations. 

It would perhaps be fairer to compare recycling rates in Lewisham with other London Local Authorities, where again at first sight Lewisham appears to be under performing. However if the figures are looked at in a bit more depth the situation is a more favourable. Looking at the first six months of 2009/10 data for dry recycling (excluding garden and food waste collection) shows that Lewisham is ranked the 7th best performer in terms of dry recycling collection at the kerbside across London.  

Why do we believe looking at the dry recycling rate is more relevant than the overall recycling rate? – In Lewisham we believe that our recycling collection (and therefore rate) should be viewed in the broader context of the impact on the environment and carbon reduction measures. The reason for many local authorities high recycling rates is the provision of food and garden waste collections, which by weight contribute significantly to the overall recycling rate (approximately 1/3 of your average household bin is organic waste – in Lewisham this is closer to 40%).  

We have previously laid out the reasons for not collecting food or garden waste on this blog, but it essentially boils down to the fact that it would be neither environmentally nor economically beneficial and would achieve nothing more than to artificially inflate our recycling rate. We prefer to encourage residents to reduce waste in the first instance and compost waste at home (especially food and garden waste) rather than give it to us to recycle/compost. We take the view this is a much more environmentally sound policy.Other local authorities who choose to provide food and garden waste collections and therefore boast much higher recycling/composting rates usually have very high overall waste per household figures, due to these collections. These authorities also have different drivers such as Landfill tax, so the monetary pressures heavily influence their decisions.  

In Lewisham we take sustainable waste management very seriously, we focus on waste minimisation as well as recycling by promoting the Love Food Hate Waste programme, Home Composting through composting workshops and offering free compost bins (last summer we ran 18 compost workshops and gave away 1,700 free compost bins), as well as running campaigns around real nappies, reusing shopping bags, not buying bottled water and stopping junk mail which all help in reducing waste in the waste stream. We believe the way in which we currently manage our waste is both responsible and sustainable.


Leave a comment

Love Christmas – Hate Waste

As Christmas is fast approaching I thought it might be pertinent to do a Christmas related waste post… Without wanting to sound like a scrooge, Christmas is a time of both excessive consumption and waste. Whilst I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a couple of extra mince pies or give your loved ones presents, there are a few things you can do to make your Christmas a little less wasteful:

1. Portion Control – shops are only shut for a couple of days so there is no need to buy excessive amounts of food, save money and reduce waste by thinking about how many people you will be feeding and how much they are really going to eat. You can use the Christmas perfect portions page on the Love Food Hate Waste website to plan your meals. Remember if you do find that you have over estimated you can also ….

2. Use up your leftovers – Visit the same website to find some Christmas left over recipes that will give you some great alternatives (and additions) to the classic turkey sandwich. Left over food is also being dealt with on London wide basis with the funding of a Surplus food centre in time for Christmas, the project will provide 800,000 meals for the needy.

3. Recycle your wrapping paper – So you’ve unwrapped all of your Christmas presents and have a wrapping paper mountain you need to clear to be able to watch the Christmas telly, the good news is that YOU CAN RECYCLE all of your wrapping paper, so pop it in your green bin or box.   

4. Pack your decorations away – Around 500 tonnes of old Christmas tree lights are thrown away each year, coupled with a huge amount of baubles and decorations! By taking down and packing away your decorations carefully you’ll have a lot less broken light bulbs and it will make it much easier to put it all up again next year.

5. Recycle your Christmas tree – If you haven’t bought a planted or plastic tree, the final act of Christmas is usually the ritual of throwing the Christmas tree into the back garden, where it gets left until the spring when you start to venture out into the garden and discover a very sad looking, needleless brown tree! Lewisham provide 12 sites throughout the borough where you can recycle your old Christmas trees for free.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!