The sun was shining. The birds were tweeting. It was indeed a glorious day to trek along to Ipswich Museum to meet Cleopatra, a cave woman and an old mammoth.
But this was no Cannard family day out. The museum was the venue of choice for the launch of Suffolk Waste Partnership’s latest campaign, Making Food Waste History.
And by now, every home should have received the bright yellow campaign leaflet. There have also been over 50,000 views of the accompanying YouTube video. If you haven’t caught it yet, you can find it at www.suffolkrecycling.org.uk.
Although aimed at us adults, if you have children who love Horrible Histories, they’ll probably enjoy it too and it may even fire up their imaginations over the school holidays.
Like many counties, food waste is a serious issue in Suffolk, so it is no surprise that the waste partnership is investing in this particular campaign. Latest figures highlight that disposing of our wasted food costs Suffolk taxpayers £4 million per year.
But the benefits are not just about saving local authority expenditure. The advice highlighted in the campaign can help us save money at home too. Some households could save up to £700 across the year.
So, who actually throws out food waste? Let me be the first to tentatively raise my hand. I confess that yes, I do. Despite this being my geeky area of special interest, there’s still the odd slice of mouldy bread, random slops of furry yoghurt and small scraps of plate waste that end up in the bin, the latter left by a certain member of the family whose food intake can unpredictably swing between that of a gnat or a goat.
This may not seem much compared to all the leftovers, unopened packets of out-of-date food and gone-off fruit that I used to throw away seven years ago, but even so, I still feel a major sense of disappointment when food that could have otherwise been saved, with just a little intervention, ends up in my bin. At least on the flipside, whenever I freeze the end of a loaf or rescue some flagging coriander, there’s an imaginary fanfare of trumpets to mark the occasion.
Reducing food waste is indeed the flavour of the month. Only this week the topic was featured on BBC Radio Suffolk, with expert advice on Mark Murphy’s show on how to put the freezer to best use when planning ahead and making the most of BOGOFs.
There have been some great events held around the county too, including a recent Love Food Hate Waste workshop in Stowmarket, where myths were busted and top tips shared. Sustainable Bury will be hosting a similar event in Bury St Edmunds on September 10. So if you’ve got an appetite for reducing food waste, save this date as more details will be available soon.
But for those itching to take control over the summer, I also recommend www.lovefoodhatewaste.com, an excellent website that has fantastic tips on storage, portions and food rescue recipes. There really is something to help most people’s waste-lines and possibly the waistline too, if like me you were brought up to finish the plate to avoid the threat of having the rest of your dinner for breakfast.
And like any challenge, if you think a goal or a deadline will help, National Zero Waste Week takes place September 1-7. So whether it’s the whole bin or just the odd limp carrot that you want to tackle, you can register your pledge at www.zerowasteweek.co.uk.
Food waste, it’s time to see the back of you! You’re so last year. Get ye gone.