Bridgend County Borough Council will be marking Food Waste Action Week (1-7 March) by highlighting how residents can reduce the amount of food they throw away.

With ‘Wasting Food Feeds Climate Change’ as the theme of this year’s event, it aims to link organisations across the supply chain to help prevent food from going to waste.

Statistics from Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW), which is behind the action week, show that if food waste was a country, it would have the third-biggest carbon footprint after the USA and China.

In UK homes, 4.5m tonnes of edible food is wasted every year – enough to make 10m meals. Every day, 20m slices of bread and about 3m glasses of milk are thrown away. LFHW says the average family could save £720 a year if they stopped throwing food away.

There are lots of ways to make sure less of the food we buy is wasted. LFHW suggests the following tips:

  • Check before the checkout: Take note of what is in your cupboards before you shop, so you never buy more than you need.
  • Chill the fridge out: – Keep your fridge below five degrees so your food will last longer.
  • Compl-eat-ing: Eat the whole part of the food, like potato skins and broccoli stalks.
  • Creative cooking: Visit the LFHW website for inspiration and recipe ideas for using up leftovers.
  • It’s a date: ‘Use by’ is about safety – food should not be eaten after this date (even if it looks/smells fine) – while ‘Best before’ is about quality (although food won’t be at top quality after this date, it will still be safe to eat for some time).
  • Ice-cube trays – the freezer hero: Too much milk, not enough time? Pour your remaining milk into ice-cube trays and freeze – this is the perfect amount for a brew. You can use ice-cube trays to freeze fresh herbs, too. Chop them up, pop them in the tray, and top up with oil, and then you have easy portions to add to the pan next time you are cooking.

The Deputy, Cllr Leader Hywel Williams said: “We can all look to make small changes that help avoid wasting money on uneaten food while also benefitting the planet.

“A certain amount of food waste can’t be eaten, but it can be recycled – items such as tea bags, egg shells and meat bones can all be put into brown food waste recycling caddies.

“If food waste ends up in landfill, it rots down and produces methane, a damaging greenhouse gas. But as evidenced by the increase of 869 tonnes between April 2020 and January 2021 when compared to the same period in 2019-20, the vast majority of local residents already recycle their food waste in Bridgend County Borough.

“Every month, our waste partners Kier collect an average of more than 745 tonnes of food waste, with the rise believed to be partly down to the increase in the numbers of people who are working from home.

“To avoid it from going to landfill, local food waste is treated at the Severn Trent Anaerobic Digestion Facility in Stormy Down, where it is transformed into electricity to power homes and to also produce a fertiliser which can be used in farming.

“I’d like to thank residents for their efforts and dedication towards recycling, and I hope that as many people as possible will also take part in Food Waste Action Week.”

Marcus Gover, CEO of the Waste and Resources Action Programme, said: “Wasting food is a major cause of climate change, and generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the commercial flights in the world.

“We know through our research that the climate change emergency matters to people, so this is something we can – and must – act on together.

“It is time to focus on saving one of our most precious resources instead of generating greenhouse gases by producing food that is never eaten.”

Bridgend Residents can find out more about recycling or request a food waste container or compostable bags on the council website.

For more information about Food Waste Action Week, visit the LFHW website.