Businesses and not-for-profits in England will benefit from £1.15 million of funding to help them come up with creative new ways to tackle food waste by changing people’s behaviour or transforming it into other materials.
From educating the public on how to store fresh food, to ideas such as turning food waste into new, edible products, grants will be available for creative solutions to address this pressing environmental challenge.
The government’s Food Waste Champion, Ben Elliot, also announced on 30 January he will hold the first ever ‘Food Waste Action Week’ from Monday 11 May and called on households and businesses across the country to join forces to reduce food waste.
With 4.5 million tonnes of food wasted every year, the new grants are the latest step in the government’s drive to reduce food waste in the UK by 20% by 2025 and form part of a wider £15 million scheme to specifically address surplus food from the retail and manufacturing sectors.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The UK is a proud world leader in tackling food waste, owing in part to the innovation and creativity of many organisations across the UK – from educating the public on food waste in our homes, to making our supply chains greener.
“I look forward to supporting UK organisations who are taking up the mantle to tackle food waste and to create a better world for ourselves, as well as generations to come. It makes sense in every way – it cuts collection costs, saves the customer money and importantly reduces emissions which benefits the environment.”
Announcing the first ever Food Waste Action Week, Government Food Waste Champion Ben Elliot said: “The country’s first ever Food Waste Action Week will be taking place from Monday 11 May and I encourage and implore everyone to get stuck in, joining together and taking the fight to food waste. More details will be provided shortly on what we must all do to reduce food waste at home and at work.”
This comes as the government’s landmark Environment Bill was introduced to Parliament, reconfirming a commitment to reduce the UK’s food waste footprint. It sets out how government will mandate weekly collections of food waste for every household, subject to consultation.
The UK is a global leader in tackling food waste, with the government pledging to reduce food waste by 20% by 2025 and total food waste levels already falling by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018. However, UK households still waste 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten every year, equivalent to ten billion meals.
The Citizen Food Waste Prevention and Value From Food Waste grants will be managed by sustainability not-for-profit WRAP, which works closely with governments, businesses and citizens to reduce food waste, from running public awareness campaigns such as Love Food Hate Waste, to working with local councils to offer residents separate food waste collections.
Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP, said: “WRAP is pleased to be managing the Resource Action Fund on behalf of Defra.
“We are looking forward to receiving applications from innovative and imaginative programmes and projects that will have a real impact in reducing the level of food waste in our homes and making sure we get more value from food waste in supply chains – priorities for both WRAP and Defra.”
This is the next step in the government’s ambition to drive down food waste from all sources. Food Waste Champion Ben Elliot has also helped intensify action, with 129 of the biggest players in food, including all of the UK’s major supermarkets, pledging to tackle the problem.
Today’s funding is the latest in a series of government grants to help tackle food waste, with last year’s Food Reduction Fund ensuring nearly 2,000 tonnes of surplus food did not go to waste.
More information on both grants and to download an application pack, can be found here.