Cambridge Sustainable Food and Anglia Ruskin University declare war on waste

PUBLISHED: 16:30 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:44 23 February 2018

Suzannah Wansell, food business co-ordinator, with Cambridge Sustainable Food. Picture: Keith Heppell

Suzannah Wansell, food business co-ordinator, with Cambridge Sustainable Food. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Keeping food out of landfill is the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road

Suzannah Wansell, of CSF, with chef David Haw, and Terry Hope, catering, hospitality and events manager at Anglia Ruskin University. Picture: Keith HeppellSuzannah Wansell, of CSF, with chef David Haw, and Terry Hope, catering, hospitality and events manager at Anglia Ruskin University. Picture: Keith Heppell

With organic waste in landfill accounting for about 20 per cent of methane emissions, keeping food waste out of landfill could mean the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road.

Cambridge Sustainable Food (CSF is spreading the message about food waste. Anybody concerned with global food security for future generations should be thinking about food waste, they say.

They’ve teamed up with Anglia Ruskin University for the FOOD WASTE: Sort it out! campaign to help cut the amount of food waste that is generated by students, and various teams.

“We’re really pleased to be working with Anglia Ruskin on this initiative and we’re hoping to roll it out so that we can work with more businesses in future,” said Sam Dyer, CSF co-ordinator.

Terry Hope, catering, hospitality and events manager, at Anglia Ruskin Univeristy, with the team. Picture: Keith HeppellTerry Hope, catering, hospitality and events manager, at Anglia Ruskin Univeristy, with the team. Picture: Keith Heppell

Both the catering and environment teams, as well as the Student Union at ARU, are all supporting Cambridge Sustainable Food in the campaign.

Sam continued: “We’re using a special set of tools whereby you measure spillage, plate and prep waste for three-seven days. Then we implement a behaviour change and measure again in a week.

“We’re hoping to see a change in food waste collected either way. If there’s less, then hopefully people have tried more to reduce the food waste they are creating. If there’s more, then people are taking time to properly separate their food waste and put it in the proper bin.”

Around 34 per cent of food waste is from people’s plates, and contaminated food waste is a major problem. If people are putting plastics in the food waste bin then the whole lot needs to go to landfill.

Once it’s in landfill the food will produce methane – a much warmer greenhouse gas than CO2.

But there are even more issues.

Around £2.5billion of food is thrown away each year in the UK, which is about £10,000 for every business in the food industry.

“If you add it up the impacts of food waste are huge,” Sam continued, “everything from how much money it wastes, to how much energy was spent to grow it, distribute it, package it. And then it just gets thrown in the bin. Of the food 
that’s thrown away around 75 per cent is edible.”

So what can be done? Sam says we have a generation of people who have not been shown how to cook from scratch, something people generally pick up from their parents, and as a result are ‘scared’ of food, not knowing the basics like whether something can be put in the fridge or frozen for later.

“I think the students were very receptive,” Sam continued. “I’m excited to measure again next week.”

The food waste will be measured at Anglia Ruskin next week, revealing the success of the campaign.
■ For more information, visit Cambridge Sustainable Food’s website.

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