Local authorities can save millions by implementing a tailored Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) campaign according to WRAP’s evaluation of recent LFHW activity in West London.
In the UK we throw away 7.2m tonnes of food and drink a year, 4.4m tonnes that could have been eaten. In London alone, an estimated 890,000 tonnes of food is thrown away each year, of which 540,000 tonnes could be avoided.
It costs London Boroughs over £50m per year to dispose of the food waste collected from households.
The six month LFHW campaign, which was part of a larger, London wide LFHW campaign run by Recycle for London, helped West Londoners cut their avoidable food waste by 14 percent.
The reductions in food waste could save West London boroughs up to £1.3m each year through avoided disposal costs and deliver up to £8 savings for every £1 spent on implementing the campaign.
Dr Richard Swannell – “The Local Government Association has identified waste disposal as one of the most costly areas for local authorities. Our work highlights one way these can be reduced cost effectively”
If the 14 percent reduction is scaled up to the whole of London, for a year it would equate to 29,400 tonnes of avoidable food waste. This would see a £79m cost saving to residents. If the reductions in total food waste were scaled up to the whole of London this would equate to around 68,000 tonnes, resulting in cost savings to LAs from avoided disposal costs of up to £7.3m.
Food waste reduction is likely to be influenced by a number of factors including the economic situation; however, this campaign, delivered locally by West London Waste Authority in partnership with six local boroughs, provided an opportunity to understand the impact of LFHW on food waste reduction by measuring consumer behaviours and the levels of food waste either side of the specific campaign.
Dr Richard Swannell, director at WRAP, said: “The Local Government Association has identified waste disposal as one of the most costly areas for local authorities. Our work highlights one way these can be reduced cost effectively – a short term investment can deliver short term and potentially long term gain, both financially and environmentally.”
WRAP has also helped make it easier for local authorities to deliver cost effective help to residents through its food waste prevention and collections guidance, which was issued last month.
“And it’s not just local authorities who can help consumers reduce their food waste and reap the benefits,” added Richard. “Retailers and brands have a role to play, particularly through the Courtauld Commitment and by utilising WRAP’s technical guidance, to help consumers make the best use of the food they buy.”