The average household in Leeds wastes 104kg of food per year – the same weight as a new born baby elephant.
But research has found that by simply reducing food waste, each home could save as much as £200 a year and help the environment at the same time.
Now, families are being asked to “do just one thing differently” and change a habit in the home to become more conscious of the way they deal with food.
Leeds City Council has teamed up with supermarket giant Asda to help change people’s attitudes.
Leeds is one city of 10 across the UK chosen to focus on fighting food waste in 2014-16. Kicking off the campaign, the Liquid Green Machine rolls onto Briggate on Thursday, August 28. From 10am until 3.30pm, expert chefs will be serving up healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies prepared from ingredients commonly wasted every day.
Councillor Mark Dobson, the council’s executive member for the environment, said: “By making just small changes in your everyday routines you can save yourself money and help the environment.”
Consumers are being urged to use a calculator and free app available at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com that can help work out portion sizes ensuring fewer leftovers.
Studies show 50 per cent of food that does in the bin has never been opened.
Planning meals for the week can also help reduce food waste so only the ingredient for those are bought and nothing goes to waste.
Consumers are advised to use up foods with the shortest use-by-dates first and, when shopping, check to see if fresh foods can be frozen.
Best before dates are just for quality, so you can eat these foods after this date, but they may no longer be at their freshest. Use-by-dates are for safety so eat right up to the date or freeze for another time but avoid eating past it. Ignore ‘display until’ and ‘sell-by’ dates – these are just for the shops and can be safely ignored.
Emma Marsh, head of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign at recycling organisation WRAP, said: “We all have our own reasons for why food gets thrown away at home, so there isn’t a one size fits all solution.
“We want to be able to get people to look at the huge volume of food and drink that’s ending up in the bin and consider the one thing they might do differently to make sure that food gets tasted, not wasted. Retailers and brands also have an important role to play in making it easier for us to avoid throwing food away and I’m delighted that Asda have committed to working with us over the next two years in Leeds to make this a reality.”