Torfaen: When it comes to food, are we Spoiled Rotten?

Posted on: Tuesday 20 August 2019
Plan before you scan

New campaign encouraging people in Torfaen to buy what they need to reduce the 7.1 million tonnes of food wasted every year in UK homes

  • One in four people admit they are poor at judging the right amount of food to buy.
  • In the UK, 20% of the food we buy ends up in the bin, according to research by Love Food Hate Waste.

We shop without checking what we’ve already got at home. We cook too much pasta because it’s difficult to know how much to make. Our busy lives mean we often leave salads to wilt in their bags, end up chucking out half a loaf of stale bread, and find forgotten punnets of gone-off fruit because we overestimate how much we’ll eat. When it comes to food, we’re spoiled rotten.

In Torfaen, food makes up 31% (by weight) of what goes in our purple lidded wheelie bin. That wasted food costs money – roughly £230 per person annually in the UK – and the amount of C02 it emits is equal to that generated by 1 in 4 of the cars on our roads. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Love Food Hate Waste’s Spoiled Rotten campaign is calling on people in Torfaen to take individual action and spot their food waste traps, from over-buying milk “just in case” to buying a bag of apples when the recipe only needs one or two.

Plan before you scan

Some 30% of people say they don’t check their fridge before they go out to the shops, and nearly half of us forget to check the freezer. Furthermore, only 56% of 18–34-year-olds make a shopping list, and research shows that this group wastes more food than most. Is it any wonder we often end up with duplicates?

If lists aren’t your thing, why not grab your phone and take a picture of the contents of your fridge – a #FridgeShelfie – before you leave the house? It’s a quick and easy way of remembering what’s in there when you get to the shops. Furthermore, a #shelfie doesn’t have to just mean the fridge! Check the cupboards and freezer before you head out, too.

Other top tips to only buy what you need and waste less:

  • One potato, two potato… ask yourself if you need the whole big bag or if it might be better to pick a few loose ones. Smaller packs are also an option – when it comes to loaves of bread, bigger isn’t always better! Research shows that there is a higher rate of food waste per person in single-person households, so if you’re buying for one try a smaller pack.
  • Get freezer friendly. If your fresh fruit is going off before you can eat it all, try buying frozen instead. It lasts longer and can be whizzed up into a delicious smoothie.
  • Takeout tips. If you’ve been tempted by a takeaway, check what’s in your fridge before you order – you might have something to pop in the freezer to keep it from going off.

Jenny Carr from Love Food Hate Waste said: “We enjoy an abundance of food everywhere we go, from farmers’ markets and supermarkets to restaurants and cafes.

It’s never been easier to enjoy food. The problem is, that means it’s also never been easier to waste it. UK households produce 70% of the country’s overall food waste – 7.1 million tonnes – which is equal to 3.5 meals per person every week!

“It’s easy to be tempted– we’re only human after all! However, if it’s going to end up in the bin, don’t buy it. By buying what you need, you can save your food from the bin – helping your pocket and our planet.”

Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for the environment, said: “The council is committed to reducing food waste, and we’ve been really inspired by the recent activity that WRAP and Love Food Hate Waste have been doing to raise awareness about the issue.

“We want to see more people in Torfaen taking action – whether they take a shelfie before they shop or buying smaller portions to avoid waste. This is an exciting opportunity for all of us to make a difference.”

Last Modified: 11/09/2020 Back to top