LIBERAL Democrats in Gateshead are backing a campaign to encourage people to cut food waste after learning that 22,000 tonnes of food are thrown away each year by local residents.
Most of the food is usable but instead of ending up on the dinner plate, it ends up in landfill sites.
Environmental campaign group Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) revealed that the UK bins 6.7 million tonnes of food a year – 112kg per person.
“The figures for the amount of perfectly good food we throw away are quite shocking,” said Councillor Jonathan Wallace. “They show that most people throw away more than their own body weight in perfectly good food each year.
“Liberal Democrats did some calculations to illustrate just how wasteful society now is with food. Sixty years ago, at the end of the 2nd World War, most foods were rationed.
“An adult was entitled to 200 grams of sugar, 100 grams of preserves, 200 grams of fats, 50 grams of cheese, 100 grams of bacon and 50 grams of tea a week. The total weight was 700 grams though that excludes 2 other products that were rationed but not weighed – one egg and 2 pints of milk a week.
“In a year, basic weighed rations were 36kg. That means we now throw away more than twice the basic rations people survived on sixty years ago.
“WRAP has found that nine out of ten people are currently not aware of the quantity of food they throw out but when it is brought to their attention, most want to do something about it.
“There are some basic ways to avoid food waste which WRAP recommend people adopt. For example, work out what food you need and write a shopping list, rather than making choices when going around the supermarket. People can also make more use of their fridge, freezer or air tight boxes rather than leaving food out in the open where it goes off quicker.
“Residents of Gateshead spend £133 each on food that is thrown away each year. That’s £133 each person on average throws into a landfill site.
“The amount of waste people produce is a growing problem. It costs council tax payer a large amount to collect and then dispose of the waste. And in landfill sites, waste food rots and gives off methane, a strong greenhouse gas that is causing global warming.
“We each have to play our part in protecting the environment. By avoiding wasting food, we can save money as well!”
Liberal Democrats have produced a handy list of ideas on how to cut food waste and reduce kitchen waste going to rubbish dumps. The list includes:
1)Plan what you need and make a shopping list – that way you buy what you need and avoid buying too much of what you don’t need (assuming you keep to your shopping list).
2)Store food in air tight containers or in the fridge, rather than out in the open.
3)Make meals from left over vegetables such as soups or broth. These can be frozen for later use if necessary.
4)Use unused fruit to make jams, chutneys and relishes.
5)Some left over foods can be used to make puddings, such as fruit and bread.
6)Left over cooked vegetables can be reused in meals such as vegetable curries or bubble and squeak.
7)Put peelings, cores and other waste foods that can’t be cooked into a compost bin.