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What Is The Solution To Our Growing Reliance On Food Banks In The Uk?

December 18th 2014
By: Melanie

There is something quite jarring about the amount of food waste we create in the UK, especially as a large proportion of Brit’s, 913,138,00 in 2013 and 2014 relied on 3 days worth of emergency food to survive.

There are now 423 food banks in the UK, and due to a growing demand the charity is planning on launching two new food banks this year.  During 2014 the charity received 8,318 tonnes of donated food from the general public. Whilst according to WRAP, Waste Resource and Action Programme, UK households threw out 6.7 million tonnes of food waste, one third of the food that was purchased.

There was a time, not so long ago that we would have never imagined that normal, every day families, perhaps the next door neighbour, would have to rely on food donations in order to survive. The 2008 crises changed everything; mass unemployment and benefit cuts have definitely led to the rise in food poverty.

There is no quick fix to this problem, and it looks as though the need for food banks will continue to grow. We can continue to donate to the food banks, whilst at the same time thinking about the impact our food waste is having on our society, mass production, landfill sites and on  negative impact on our bank balances.

The main food items that we throw out in the UK are potatoes (177,400 tonnes), slices of bread (328,000 tonnes per year), apples (190,000 tonnes per year) and untouched meat and fish (161,000 tonnes per year).

So how can I cut down on my families food waste?

One of the easiest ways to cut down on food waste is to make a list of meals you are going to cook each day, write out the ingredients and work through the list. Avoid buying too much of the above food items, as well as Buy One get One Free items, unless they can be frozen or combined into your weekly shopping menu.

Invest in a large freezer as well, any food you think you are not going to use then chop up and freeze, including meat and fish. Turn apples into puddings such as apple crumble (which can also be frozen), preserve in jars, turn them into smoothies, or just buy less. Stale bread is great for making bread crumbs and bread and butter pudding - if you have bought too much then chop into slices and freeze into portions, bread freezes really well. Being organised is key to reducing our food waste, check out the Hate Waste Love Food website http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com, packed full of food saving ideas, as well as reminding us of how much we need to eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  

Source: WRAP