Campaigning to reduce litter and improve water quality in Dorset


Food Waste

You may have heard that food waste has a big impact on our environment.

But how does the odd overripe banana or stale loaf of bread being binned harm our planet? 

When looking at why food waste harms the environment, it’s important to look at the whole lifecycle of our food: from farm, to fork, to the bin. Each stage in the journey of our food draws resources from our planet and produces greenhouse gas emissions, therefore contributing to climate change.

If we can make sure only the food we are going to eat reaches our homes, and no good food ends up in the bin, we could save the emissions created producing that food from ever needing to be created in the first place.

Ensuring you use up all of the food you buy and let none of it go to waste is a key way to reduce your carbon footprint and help tackle climate change.

What Happens to Our Food Waste?

The food waste from our brown compost bins is collected at kerbside and brought to a processing plant called an anaerobic digester. First any plastics or bags are removed as they cannot be processed by the digester, and liquid is added to create a soup-like mixture. The liquid is a waste-product from the dairy industry, so nothing is wasted here! The mixture is then pasteurised to remove any nasties, then pumped into the digester tanks where bugs breakdown the food and produce methane and CO2.

The gases are captured and used to generate energy which is then put back into the National Grid – enough to power 10,000 homes! Another product of this process is a bio-fertiliser which is used by local farmers. Every tonne of food waste recycled by the anaerobic digester saves up to 1 tonne of CO2 entering the atmosphere. So don’t put your food leftovers in the general waste – use your compost bin!

What Can We Do at Home to Reduce Food Waste?

Food waste costs the average family around £60 per month

Two thirds of food waste could be avoided if we eat it in time and cook the right amount. By changing the way we shop, cook, and plan our meals we can all stop wasting food, money, and resources.

Top tips to reduce food waste

  • Buy only the food you need Make a list and stick to it
  • Eat all the food you buy Correct storage will make it last longer
  • Compost the food that you can’t eat eg. egg shells, fruit peelings

If you fancy trying something different with your food waste, why not give these interesting ideas a go!

Check out the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) website for lots of fantastic resources on reducing food waste at home and eating sustainably.

Did you know we waste 4.4 million whole potatoes every day in UK homes? That’s mostly because we don’t know how to store them properly and because we cook, prepare, or serve too much. Check out these tips to make your delicious potatoes last longer!

Make the most of your freezer by exploring the wide range of foods that you can freeze. By freezing food, you’re pressing the ‘pause’ button; it will not lose any nutrients or deteriorate in any way. There is power in frozen food – it’s a great way to preserve vegetables and fruit that pack a nutritional punch.

What Can We Do to Support the Food Waste Processing System?

The best thing we can do with our food is enjoy it but some food waste like banana peels, egg shells and coffee grounds are inevitable. We can support the food waste system by using our food bin and not putting any food waste in general waste.

All cooked and uncooked foods can go in your food bin along with eggshells, tea bags and coffee grounds. Don’t put any plastic bags in your food bin and only use liners with the ‘compostable’ logo or newspaper.

If you dispose of your food waste using a home-compost bin or an old-fashioned compost heap, please continue and accept our thanks for your efforts! Home-composting is the best way to deal with your food waste – even better than using your food waste bin.

Dorset Council is currently offering a special home composting offer to get your own compost bin.

Leftovers Suggestions and Tips

Leftovers often get pushed to the back of the fridge, because we don’t feel like eating them, or simply forget about them. If you do have leftovers, take them for lunch the next day! It will save you time in the morning not having to make a sandwich before you rush out the door, and it will save you money as well. It’s important to refrigerate your leftovers to keep them safe, or if you aren’t going to eat them the following day, then freeze them.

There’s often a lot of leftovers at Christmas time. So we’ve created three delicious recipe cards to help use up your leftovers this Christmas!

Love Food Hate Waste have a search tool on their website where you can type in any food, and it will tell you how best to store it in your home and give you lots of recipe to use it!

Food Waste Tips for Businesses

  • Get a food waste bin for your business! Most waste suppliers offer a food collection service for businesses.
  • You could display a poster in your business with clear guidance on what can go in your food bin to avoid contamination.
  • Start a rota at work for bringing in food items like milk or cake, so you don’t risk having too much and it going to waste!

Why Should we Recycle our Food Waste?

Food waste harms the environment – it wastes the energy, fuel and water that went into producing it and, if not recycled or treated correctly, can produce methane, a damaging greenhouse gas. Recycling your food waste helps fight climate change and makes savings for essential public services.

If we all put the right stuff in the right bin, we could save up to £1 million per year for essential public services.

The food waste system in Dorset is contributing to the Dorset Council Climate and Ecological Emergency by converting food waste to green energy instead of sending it to landfill.

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