Tackling food waste

Each year, about 7 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted by UK homes, and more than half of that could have been consumed. Wasting this food costs the average household £470 a year, rising to nearly £700 for a family with children – the equivalent of around £60 a month. As if this cost is not enough, you then pay again to treat the waste – 70% is picked up by the local authority and the rest is poured down the drain.

Food waste makes up around 15% by weight of all household waste in Somerset. Most of this waste occurs through cooking and preparing too much or not using food in time. People are getting more food wise, but there is still more that we can do to make better use of food and save money too.

We throw away more food from our homes than packaging in the UK every year. If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.

Shopping with a list

There are many quick and easy ways to cut down the amount of food we discard and save money too!  Download below tasty recipes or money saving tips for more information.

The best thing that can happen to food is that it makes it to our plates and is enjoyed. However, some food waste is inevitable. Egg shells, banana skins and tea bags are never going to be on the menu. Home composting is a great way to stop this sort of waste ending up in landfill, and our gardens will really thank us for it.

Most residents in Somerset receive a kerbside food collection service. Use this for any food not home composted or eaten. The food waste collected is processed into energy and an agricultural fertilizer.

Money saving tips

Your fridge and freezer can greatly extend the shelf-life of your food at home – reducing the amount you throw away and saving you money on your food bill. Take time to find out what is in your store cupboards – make sure you have enough staple foods to make tasty meals. Don’t forget to use up any items near their ‘use-by’ date or lovely leftovers from a previous meal. Try some of the tasty recipes below to help you get creative in the kitchen.

Fridge and Freezer advice

Let’s all make better use of our fridge and freezer. These cool tips help keep your food fit to eat for longer and save you money. Your fridge is your friend.

To keep your food fresher for longer and at its best, your fridge temperature should be 0 to 5 degrees C. Research shows 30% of our fridges are too warm, this means food won’t last as long as it could. Milk goes off much quicker if your fridge is just a few degrees too warm.

Fresh fruit and veg need to breathe in the fridge, so don’t store them in completely sealed containers. Fruit and veg packaging has been designed to help it stay fresh for longer, so don’t take the packaging off until you’re ready to eat the food.

Once opened, food like cheese and ham keep better if they’re well wrapped by re-closing the pack, wrapping in clingfilm or foil, or putting in an airtight container.

You can freeze it

A survey conducted by Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) found the foods people freeze most often are lamb, beef, fish, seafood, bakery (bread and cakes), chicken and minced meat.

Some people surveyed thought that eggs (20% of respondents), milk (17%), cheese (16%) and fruit (16%) weren’t suitable for freezing. But you can freeze all these things, and more. So, as well as the usual food stuff, try freezing something different. Here are some ideas.

  • Bread – use from frozen as toast or make sandwiches for work – by lunchtime they’ll be defrosted.
  • Eggs – don’t freeze them in the shell. Beat into a mixture or freeze whites and yolks separately. Defrost in the fridge, not at room temperature. Adding salt (for savoury) or sugar (for sweet) stops the yolks going lumpy. Use as you would fresh eggs.
  • Milk – freeze as soon as possible and thaw in the fridge. Plastic containers are okay for freezing milk in, but the milk will expand, so pour out a small amount to allow for this.
  • Cheese – try grating Cheddar cheese before freezing and use as toppings on pizza or shepherd’s pie from frozen. Stilton can be frozen without grating.
  • Fruit – slice and freeze lemons then use them straight from the freezer in iced drinks.
  • Cooked meat – such as chicken or turkey. Thaw in the fridge and use as normal, in casseroles, curries and stews.
  • Potatoes – parboil and freeze them for later, thaw and roast. Mashed potato freezes well. Remember to portion before freezing.
  • Yoghurt – pots can be placed straight in the freezer but the yoghurt will expand, so make sure there’s enough space in the pot for this. If there isn’t, transfer to another container before freezing. Defrost and use in smoothies or straight from frozen as a yoghurt dessert.
Tasty Recipes

UK homes throw away 5.8 million whole potatoes untouched every day, and 24 million whole slices of bread every day. Most food is wasted because we cook more than we need or simply let it go off. Here are a couple of tasty recipes to save the simple spud.

Somerset Food Champion Scheme/Food Waste in your community

If you care about good food, cutting costs, and driving down waste, why not become a Somerset Food Champion and join our network of volunteers? We will show you easy ways to save money and slim your food bin, and all you have to do is pass on those ideas to friends, neighbours and others in a way that suits you. We are not looking for experts. You just need to be keen to waste less, recycle more, save cash – and help others do the same.

If you are a food lover and want to hold your own Love Food Hate Waste event, whether it is a coffee morning with friends or a stall at a local fete, then click on Food Lovers events for help.

Support materials and training are available to help you pass on food-saving tips in your community. From hosting ready-made display information to running your own Food Lovers event or activities, there are lots of ways to help your community reduce food waste and save money.

There are lots of ways you can bring the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to life in your community and lots of free downloadable tools to help you do it.

Making the most of the food that we buy is a handy guide to help you run your own Love Food Hate Waste campaign or activities, with ideas to suit a range of audiences and event styles.

Community engagement tools

As well as the activities in the handy guide above, there is a range of other tools to help engage your community in the simple steps we can all take to make the most of food, cut waste and save money.

  • Food waste diary – a great challenge to see how much food is really wasted and why this happens.
  • Cooking course toolkit – provided by Love Food Hate Waste to support kitchen know-how and top tips for good food management. (Can also be used for a workshop environment or cookery demonstrations).
  • Storage game Somerset – provided by Love Food Hate Waste and adapted by us for Somerset. This game provokes discussion about what to do with leftover items and considers food safety. (Before you print, please note a laminated version of the game is free to hire from SWP along with other display items.)
  • Quick quizzes, developed by SWP to support local campaign events – these are a great ice-breakers: quick quiz-food for thought and quick quiz-Savvy storage.

See our Love Food Hate Waste support materials page for more items available locally, such as posters, recipe cards and display equipment.

Great posters to spark discussion

We all have some good ideas to share about how to cut down waste and save money.

Resources include printed materials, artwork templates, free loan of display kit and even free training to help you organise your campaign in a way that suits you.

Simply give a brief description of your plans for your Love Food Hate Waste campaign and tell us how many of the printed materials you would like, email recycle@somersetwaste.gov.uk

Please get in touch if you would like advice planning your campaign. Whether you are representing a community group, school, a business or simply going it alone, we would love to hear from you.


Free training sessions can be arranged to support local groups that want to pass on Love Food Hate Waste tools, tips, and advice in their community. These bespoke sessions can be adapted to best fit how you want to pass on these messages. Minimum time for basic training is one hour.

Join our network of trained Somerset Food Champions. You don’t need to be an expert in food or cooking. You just need to be keen to reduce your food waste, recycle more and help others do the same. Volunteers are given a day’s training, support tools and ongoing advice. The training is free but volunteers must undertake to champion the cause in their community. How you choose to pass on advice is up to you, from chatting with neighbours and friends, to running workshops, giving talks or setting up displays at events. To help Somerset Food Champions reach out in their community, we will also pay a reasonable travel allowance. See our Somerset Food Champions page for training dates and an online booking form.

For more information on Love Food Hate Waste training for groups or the Somerset Food Champions scheme, please email recycle@somersetwate.gov.uk and quote “training” in the subject line.

Display kit

Love Food Hate Waste display items are offered for events, subject to availability. Priority is given to individuals who have completed training on bringing Love Food Hate Waste to your community.

Printed materials – leaflets, posters, recipe cards


Posters – four designs, each available in large (A3) and small (A4) sizes

Recipe cards – ten designs in total (size A5). Includes rescue recipes, ‘cook once, eat twice’ recipes and time saver recipes

Rescue recipes – perfect for using up food that is going past its best

‘Cook once, eat twice’ recipes – turn leftovers into tasty dishes

Time saver recipes – fabulous food for busy families

More recipe card artwork is available free to download from the Love Food Hate Waste partners website (see below for details).

Other artwork templates – download and print for your own display

You can use the following downloads to print additional campaign material. These materials were produced by WRAP and must not be altered without consulting WRAP guidelines. If you wish to alter these templates, please contact us for more information before doing so.

The links below are suitable for home printing. If you require versions for professional printing (with printers guide marks), please contact us to request this.

Produce tip cards

Kitchen know-how tip cards

Other tip cards

Fresher for Longer campaign posters

Become a Love Food Hate Waste partner

Love Food Hate Waste partners can keep up-to-date with the full range of campaign support tools available free – simply sign up to become a Love Food Hate Waste partner.

Partners have access to editorial templates, new artwork and guidance for campaign messages.

You can also get the Love Food Hate Waste e-newsletter – The Bite, follow Love Food Hate Waste on Facebook or Twitter.

If you care about good food, cutting costs, and driving down waste why not become one of our Somerset Food Champion volunteers? We will show you easy ways to save money and slim your food bin, and all you have to do is pass on those ideas to friends, neighbours and others in a way that suits you. We are not looking for experts. You just need to be keen to waste less, recycle more, save cash – and help others do the same.

Love Food Hate Waste website