Based on its population, Birmingham accounts for approximately 1.5% of the UK’s waste. When we’re talking about food waste, that adds up to over 80,000 tonnes a year:
- 65,520 tonnes of avoidable food waste from Birmingham households
- 10,764 tonnes of avoidable food waste from the hospitality and food service sector sector (restaurants, schools, hospitals etc.) and
- 5,647 tonnes of food waste from the grocery sector.
That’s not even mentioning food manufacture!
These figures are are extrapolated from national data reported by WRAP, and we’re looking forward to having more definitive data from waste audits that are in the pipeline, but the undeniable fact is that Birmingham is wasting a lot of food.
We’re also starting to wake up to this.
We thought you might be interested in some of the things happening across Birmingham to address food waste:
1. Reducing waste
Love Food Hate Waste Campaign (LFHW)
An 18 month campaign, launched in July 2014 which will:
- encourage individuals to pledge to ‘do one thing differently’ to reduce food waste;
- offer free training on reducing food waste, with the aim of creating ‘community champions’ to spread the message; and
- provide cookery classes, budgeting and kitchen skills.
Voluntary agreements with industry
The Sustainable Restaurant Association is not for profit members organization aimed at helping restaurants to become more sustainable. This covers a number of things, but reducing waste is key. Approximately 17 Birmingham restaurants have joined to date
2. Redistributing Waste
Provides emergency food support by redistributing food from supermarkets and food outlets. They have four distribution centres in Birmingham and one in Walsall.
An organisation that distributes surplus food from the food industry to people in disadvantaged communities. Fareshare West Midlands distributes food to ‘over 50 organisations in Birmingham and Coventry that work with people in need, from families on low income and older people at risk of isolation to those affected by homelessness and mental health issues’
Food Cycle is a national charity with a hub within Birmingham. Its aim is to ‘combine volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation’. The Birmingham project operates from a community kitchen in Aston. Every Saturday, volunteers collect surplus food donated by vendors at the Bullring market, to make a three course meal available from 2-3 each Sunday.
You can read more in our report on food waste.
We’d love to hear about other initiatives you are aware of, or your ideas on how Birmingham could do more!