Households in London toss an estimated 900,000 tonnes of food each year, of which 540,000 tonnes could have been eaten. Starting this month and set to run for three years, the latest initiative led by Resource London aims to reduce this avoidable food waste and increase awareness of more healthy and sustainable eating – all while saving Londoners up to £330 million.
The initiative, called TRiFOCAL London (for Transforming City Food hAbits for Life), is a collaborative effort between social and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London and Resource London, which itself is a partnership between WRAP and the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB). TRiFOCAL will deliver messages on how Londoners can reduce the amount of food they waste, how they can recycle unavoidable waste, and about healthy, sustainable eating.
“TRiFOCAL London represents a fantastic opportunity for Resource London to look at the bigger picture around food: what we consume in London, and how we deal with the unavoidable food waste that’s generated. We want to help Londoners consume food more sustainably, save money and get a bit healthier by doing it, and then use their food recycling services more effectively. TRiFOCAL will build on the work we’ve done with ‘Recycle for London’ and the ‘Little Wins’ Love Food Hate Waste campaign. It delivers an exciting new chapter in making the capital greener,” Antony Buchan, Head of Programme at Resource London, said in a statement.
In addition to previous campaigns, TRiFOCAL will also build on a number of existing materials and research, including food waste reduction research insights, London waste authority data on food waste recycling, good practice guidance and communications materials. For example, previous work from WRAP and LWARB has shown that food waste costs London waste authorities over £50 million per year, and costs the city’s consumers £1.4 billion per year to purchase the food and drink they throw away.
“We'll be working closely with communities and schools, helping both adults and children to make more informed food choices that are healthier and less wasteful,” added Lindy Kelly, the Executive Director of Groundwork London.
TRiFOCAL is expected to engage with stakeholders across 33 London boroughs including homeowners, hospitality and food service businesses, local communities and schools through a range of communications approaches such as events, advertising and direct engagement with residents.
Through the course of the project, the organizations will also develop a ‘food waste behavioral change resource bank’ that can be used to help other European cities replicate achievements from London. Indeed, the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) capital is intended to be a test bed for other European cities; the European Commission is expected to provide €3.2 million in funding for TRiFOCAL as an Information & Communication LIFE project. It is only the second such project to be funded in the UK and eighth in Europe.
While TRiFOCAL is focused on London, many initiatives have been launched across Britain and the UK with the goal of reducing food waste. Most recently, Unilever and environmental non-profit Hubbub launched a ‘Joint Ambition for a Zero Food Waste Britain,’ and WRAP released a Food Waste Recycling Action Plan. Grocers Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer (M&S), and Sainsbury’s have all stepped up their related efforts as well, from adopting redistribution schemes to launching awareness campaigns and pilot projects. Companies have much to gain – an in-depth examination of the UK’s grocery supply chain WRAP released earlier this year found that food manufacturers and retailers alone could save £300 million a year by preventing food waste.