Love Food Hate Waste Welcome to Watch Your Waste

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Join Watch Your Waste to learn how to reduce food waste in your home. By watching your food waste you’ll reduce your environmental footprint, and hopefully your food shopping bill too! 

When you sign up, we will set you up to take part in a 4-week programme designed to help you reduce food waste at home. Each week you’ll receive an email with simple tasks you can do to reduce food waste that week. You’ll be able to access additional support and guides to completing the tasks on the members’ area of this website. Completing more of the tasks increases your chances of reducing food waste, saving money, and bringing down your carbon footprint. 

At the end of each week, we will ask you to let us know how you’ve got on by completing a quick and simple online survey which we will email to you. Completing the tasks and responding to the surveys gives Leicestershire residents an opportunity to be entered into a monthly prize draw (Terms and conditions are here) where you can win some brilliant prizes each month. 

You can maximise your chance of winning a prize by completing additional food waste prevention tasks and telling us about it in your weekly survey. You’ll find lots of ideas and inspiration that are available on the Watch Your Waste pages of this website. 

By signing up Leicestershire residents also get the opportunity to take part in a free online cooking class. 

Is Watch Your Waste for you? 

The programme is for everyone who’s interested in and motivated to reduce household food waste, reducing their environmental impact, and potentially saving money. If you agree with any of the following statements, the programme is likely to appeal to you. 

Wasting food that could have been eaten is… 

  • a waste of your money Wasting food feeds climate change
  • a waste of the resources used to grow food and transport it to the shops 
  • a waste of healthy / nutritious ingredients 
  • a waste of farmer’s / producers’ time and effort
  • a contribution to global climate change through the gasses produced by food waste 
  • damaging to the local environment
  • unfair to people who don’t have enough to eat 

What are the benefits of taking part? 

This is a self-guided programme, so what you get out of it depends on your individual circumstances and lifestyle. However, it’s designed to help you to: 

Reduce your environmental impact: Household food waste is a significant contributor to climate change. In order to limit greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst consequences of global heating of 2°C+ we need to take action to reduce food waste in our homes by half by 2030*. Doing anything to reduce food waste in your home is going to make a positive contribution, and everyone needs to make a positive contribution. We’ve put together a video which explains the link between climate change and food waste, but you’ll find additional information at https://outofdate.org.uk/ 

All the activities recommended in the Watch Your Waste programme have been tested and proven to be effective at helping people to reduce food waste at home, especially when done together. The programme offers you encouragement and support in giving them a try over the course of about a month – which is a reasonable amount of time to notice small benefits. Hopefully at the end of the 4 week programme you’ll continue to do some of the things you’ve learned. 

Graph showing UK inflation increasing

Source: Statistica

Reduce food shopping bills: In the UK, inflation and the consumer price index (the cost of buying a basket of goods and services) is currently (January 2022) the highest it has been for a decade. Economists are predicting it has potential to increase further during 2022 and to remain high into 2023. With living costs increasing, and with the potential to remain high for some time to come, now is a good time to invest time and effort in activities that can reduce your bills. That includes making the most of the food available to you. 

In UK homes we waste on average 22% of the food we buy. That’s equivalent to buying five bags of food and putting one of them straight into the bin. Many people don’t have a good idea of how much food they actually waste or what it costs them. The reasons why are quite complicated, but it’s partly because we tend to throw away a little bit at a time. Doing this costs UK consumers an estimated £19 billion each year. The average UK household throws away £500 worth of food over a year. That increases to £730 a year for households with young children, or £210 if you live alone. By reducing your food waste you’ll spend less on food, so you should see a reduction in your food shopping bills over the 4 week programme. Some of our tips can also help you save money by reducing your energy consumption. 

A chance to win prizes: If you are a Leicestershire resident signed up to Watch Your Waste, and you keep us posted on you’re progress through the programme using our feedback surveys you could win a prize. See the full terms and conditions here. Prizes are awarded every four weeks, and we choose people who have shown that they are making every effort to tackle food waste whilst on the programme. Our prizes are designed to help you to tackle waste and make the most of your food.

Our first prize is a pair of Smartfreeze containers.

These reusable containers are fridge, freezer, microwave, oven and dishwasher safe, and come with a handy app that can remind you what they contain and when it needs to be used up. Perfect for keeping track of your surplus food and / or any foods with a short shelf life, and they also make great lunchboxes.

How does it work? 

Making the most of the foods available to us isn’t rocket science. The programme is based around 18 competencies / skills that when practiced in combination are proven to reduce food waste in the majority of homes. 

Not every competency will work for you, but the 4 week programme encourages you to apply the ones that are likely to be useful in your household. Four weeks should be just enough time to for you to get to grips with the basic competencies, and for you see a reduction in how much food you waste, and hopefully you’ll see a reduction in your food shopping bill too. 

We ask you to give us your feedback in weekly surveys so we can get a sense of how effective the programme is, and so we can tweak it to be better. 

Where can I get help or more information? 

Drop us a line at wasteprevention@leics.gov.uk or find us on Facebook 

*=For the curious, that 50% reduction target is against a household food waste baseline measured in 2007.

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