Before Christmas 150 Dacorum residents took part in our annual Love Food, Hate Waste challenge - our biggest year yet.
By learning how to get food savvy in their kitchens over the course of a month, participants helped to save food, money and the environment.
Households in the UK throw away approximately seven million tonnes of food and drink every year. This costs the average family nearly £70 a month. The challenge helps to stop this waste by showing everyone how they can prevent food waste in their own kitchen.
Regular tips were emailed to participants throughout November on how to get the most out of their food. A free food waste prevention pack filled with goodies, such as a meal planner, bag clips and a fridge thermometer, was also sent out to help put the new knowledge into action.
Our food champions told us that they took part in the challenge because they wanted to help the environment, whilst others knew that they were already pretty good at saving food and wanted to see if they could do better.
The majority of participants found that the challenge made them more aware of the food they wasted, with more than 90 per cent taking on new behaviours to reduce their food waste. On average, the amount of food wasted by the participants halved by the end of the month-long challenge!
After the challenge, the new food champions told us that among the top tips they learned were: using leftovers, freezing more food, checking what needs to be used up before cooking and planning meals in advance.
On average, UK households waste around eight meals a week. Using the tips and tricks sent throughout the month, participants were able to save an average of £27, with two people saving an impressive £100. Nearly everyone that took part said they expected their monthly savings to continue to increase as they become more familiar with the new behaviours they learned.
One lucky champion, Carol Blunden (pictured), was the winner of a new blender in our prize draw. Carol told us: "The Food Challenge really highlighted practical options available to us so we don't need to waste so much food. Food is precious - use and reuse it, freeze it or store it for later and plan weekly menus. Be in control for a healthy, less wasteful future.”
Food waste is an important issue in the fight against climate change. The process of growing, transporting and disposing of our food requires a lot of energy and resources leaving a large carbon footprint. Taking small steps in your daily routine to reduce your food waste can go a long way in helping the planet.
Our next Love Food, Hate Waste challenge will be running again in the autumn, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to take part.
In the meantime, you can learn more about reducing your food waste by visiting the Love Food Hate Waste website.
For a a wide range of other environmentally friendly tips, visit our Top tips for a green 2020 page.