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Love Food, Hate Waste

Food waste is a major issue. Every year UK households throw away 6.7 million tonnes of food and drink. Some is inedible - such as peelings, cores and bones - but the majority is, or once was, perfectly good food. Little by little, all this waste adds up. Wasting this food costs the average household £470 a year, rising to £700 for a family with children, the equivalent of almost £60 a month!

As well as the cost saving to residents, reducing food waste is key to tackling climate change. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package that food. Plus, if food goes to landfill and rots, it produces methane - a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.

Love Food, Hate Waste Challenge

Each year we run the Love Food, Hate Waste challenge to help Dacorum residents cut down on food waste. Email recycle@dacorum.gov.uk to register your interest for the next challenge.

How the challenge works

  • Completing a food waste diary: we will email you a diary to fill out throughout the challenge so that you can log the food you are throwing away and see the results for yourself.
  • Food waste reduction tips and advice: official Love Food, Hate Waste guidance will be emailed to you in bite-size chunks throughout the duration of the challenge to help you along the way.
  • Prize draw: every participant will have the chance to win a prize to help them reduce your food waste.
  • Short 'before' and 'after' surveys: so that we can see how the challenge helped you.

Once you've completed the challenge you will be a fully fledged Food Saviour and have all the knowledge you need to stop unnecessary food waste, save money and help the environment.

Previous results

In November 2021 we rolled out our Love Food, Hate Waste challenge for the sixth consecutive year.

  • 170 residents from 87 households participated
  • 91 per cent of participants felt the challenge made them more aware of food being wasted in their household
  • 84 per cent of participants stated that their food waste reduced throughout the challenge
  • The food waste diaries showed that the participants' food waste reduced by an average of 34 per cent between the start and end of the challenge.

Food Waste Action Week

In 2021 the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) charity launched its first ever Food Waste Action Week, which ran from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 March 2021. The week of action was designed to highlight the importance of tackling climate change at home, looking to help reduce UK food waste, 70 per cent of which is produced by UK households.

We supported the Food Waste Action Week locally by running a virtual competition for our residents. Residents emailed us their best tips for reducing food waste, you can see their tips in the table below. 

Food waste tips from around Dacorum

Food waste tips from Food Waste Action Week competition
Name Food waste tip
Mel Don’t throw away your broccoli stalks! They can easily be sliced up and fried for a few minutes and added to your meal - delicious with salt and pepper or ginger.
Mel We never peel our potatoes when we make mash. It saves waste and so much time, too! We just make sure to add extra milk and margarine when it comes to the mashing stage.
Zoe I always plan my meals before I go shopping and write a list of everything I need to make  them so I only buy what I need. I usually batch cook on Sunday for lunches and dinners for the next few days, which saves time cooking, too.
Melanie   I never throw away the ends of bread, they are either popped in the freezer ready to become toast one day, or torn up and put in the garden to feed wild birds. They love it and it’s great to  watch them.
Racheal  Get creative - I try to make a meal of all the food bits and bobs left in my fridge (a bit like Ready Steady Cook! Or if that doesn't seem possible, I freeze whatever I can to use at a later date.
Lin My tip for reducing food waste is to check the fridge frequently in case something has been pushed to the back. I now label and freeze small quantities of leftovers and if a pack of fresh food has more portions than I need for a meal, I label and freeze the excess.
Kate Don’t go food shopping when you're hungry! You will buy more than you need.
Sofia Check your fridge is below five degrees centigrade. Also, freeze anything you think you won't eat before the use-by date. Almost anything can be frozen! We rarely get through a whole loaf of bread so I always freeze half.
Jay I can never seem to get my portion sizes right on rice so I save it for the next night and use any leftover veggies in the fridge. It makes an amazing fried rice dish that's super cheap, saves throwing any bits of food away that aren't quiet enough to make a meal out of and it tastes just as good as a Chinese takeaway!
Leon Coffee grounds make great fertiliser, so instead of throwing them away use them to keep your plants looking lush.
Sell-by dates don't mean that the food's gone off. As long as it smells OK and doesn't look funky then it's good to eat.

Make a list and plan your meals!

Get creative in the kitchen, think outside the box and combine leftovers for a spontaneous meal. 

If you can’t eat it, freeze it! For fruit and veg - if it’s going a bit funny then juice it!

Making food waste history

You could save over £60 a month by following four simple steps:

  • Plan ahead
  • Store correctly
  • Cook what you need
  • Recycle what you can't eat.

Watch WasteAware's video below to find out more about how to save money by wasting less food.

Why does our food go to waste in the first place?

  • Cooking and preparing too much
  • Not using up food in time
  • Not eating food before its use-by date.

What foods are we most likely to waste?

The top five include:

  • fresh fruit
  • meat and fish
  • bread and bakery products
  • dairy produce
  • rice and pasta

How can we prevent food waste and save money?

  • Pre-plan meals to avoid unnecessary buying
  • Always write a shopping list
  • Perfect portions - only cook what you need 
  • Store and freeze leftovers
  • Use up leftovers

Love Food Hate Waste is a national campaign providing handy tips, advice and recipes for leftovers to help everyone waste less food. Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website for more information.