Nine London boroughs selected to champion food waste awareness

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has unveiled the nine London boroughs that will task hospitality and food service businesses and households to reduce food waste, promote sustainable eat and improve recycling of unavoidable waste.

LWARB and WRAP’s TRiFOCAL London project was announced last September after claiming a £2.7m grant from the European Commission’s LIFE programme, to help the Capital reduce the estimated 900,000 tonnes of food that is discarded each year.

On Thursday (16 March), LWARB revealed that Bexley, Croydon, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Sutton and Tower Hamlets would be the focus of the behaviour change campaign to raise awareness on the value of food and the issues surrounding food waste.

LWARB’s new chair Liz Goodwin said: “I want London to become the leading city that others look to for inspiration about how to address some of the pressures all cities are facing, and sustainable consumption and management of food is right at the top of the list.

“The TRiFOCAL project is an exciting opportunity to find solutions. It’s great to be working with WRAP and Groundwork London as well as nine London boroughs and a range of European cities. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.”

Announced just one day after LWARB set out its £50m circular economy plan for the Capital, TriFOCAL – Transforming City Food Habits for Life – sets out campaigns aimed at educating businesses and residents through measures that could save Londoners £330m.

Alongside the value of food and the costs of waste, the project will seek to promote healthy and sustainable eating and to increase the recycling rate of unavoidable food waste through a change in shopping, storage and preparation habits. Further details about the campaigns will be released in June.

Successes within the trial will be extended to other London boroughs and seven European cities, including Barcelona, Dublin and Milan, will also conduct similar scheme in their own municipalities.

Circular surplus

WRAP estimates that around 540,000 tonnes of London’s food waste is avoidable, yet it is costing authorities more than £50m annually to treat. Consumers are spending £1.4bn collectively on food that gets discarded in London, which generates around 2.1m tonnes of CO2e emissions in return.

“It’s very exciting to announce this phase of TRiFOCAL London with our nine partner boroughs,” WRAP’s director of government programmes Peter Maddox said. “Having this scale of support will help us test, measure and understand how we can apply learnings from these pilots across our capital city, and beyond.

“We shall test different approaches combining the three core themes of reducing food waste, healthy and sustainable eating, and increasing food waste recycling. This will help people and businesses save money, and benefit the environment.”

London Boroughs have already been urged to develop the “circular economy of food”, by separating food waste collection from general waste to boost activity in surrounding anaerobic digestion plants.

National charity FoodCycle has also called on London-based charities, community projects and faith centres to join them in the fight to tackle both food waste and poverty in the capital by joining surplus food donation schemes.

Matt Mace

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