On the 2 April, WinACC's Waste Action Group laid out the arguments for why food waste is a major contributor to climate change and why food waste collections should be offered to all households in the UK. 

They showed that:

  • Offering food waste collections from households, so that it can be composted or sent to anaerobically digested, would make a big difference to recycling targets in the UK and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced from landfill. 
  • Local authorities need to be incentivised to offer household food waste collections by central government as the capital costs for setting up these local collection schemes is prohibitive. 

The Waste Action Group proposes a nationwide campaign to encourage central government to offer these incentives. 

In his presentation “Why food waste is especially important to climate change”, James Miller made several important points. The following stood out:

  • Waste in general produces 12% of greenhouse gases. Waste produced in Great Britain could fill the Albert Hall every 2 hours.
  • 36% of food is not consumed. Doing something about this is a key factor in meeting our CO2 reduction commitments.
  • There is a waste hierarchy. We haven’t made enough of a difference yet, but the need for reduction and prevention of food is most important.

 In examining “How and who deals with waste and recycling in Hampshire and Winchester”, Mat Jane also made a number of important points, of which the following stood out:

  • The amount of waste in Hampshire is relatively unchanged over the past 15 years. There has been a reduction of landfill due to the introduction of and an increase in landfill tax.
  • In Winchester only 36% of refuse is recycled.
  • There is a legal commitment to have 50% of waste recycled on a national scale by 2020.

 He also gave us an overview of things that are being or can be done regarding food waste:

  • National initiatives, including the Courtauld Commitment
  • Things that we can do at home, including:
    • Composting kits
    • The Cone (does not produce anything but enriches soil)
    • Home wormery
    • Anaerobic digestion (of food waste collection)

It was felt that there is a need for national action on food waste collection.  The group’s role is to act as a catalyst to encourage that national action. We can make a difference as individuals, as a group, and as part of wider society. The group can assist with preparing the information that will help us make the difference and spread the message.

Important elements of the Waste Action group's work relates to the key factor of (changing) behaviour, and building up its own expertise. The group is seeking to demonstrate its influence by:

  • Working with Steve Brine to promote the issue
  • Creating and promoting a national petition to tackle the issue
  • Share best practice in food waste management.

The slides from the meeting are available below. If you would like to be involved in the campaign to promote food waste collection in the UK, contact the Waste Action Group on waste@winacc.org.uk

(picture from Love Food Hate Waste NZ)



WAG food waste April 2016.pdf1.46 MB