Councils Shine a Light on Food Waste in Suffolk & Norfolk

A huge light installation came to Norwich this week to draw attention to the environmental impact of milk and other foods that are regularly wasted in our homes.  It comes as new research amongst 2,004 Suffolk and Norfolk residents reveals only 1 in 6 people are aware that food waste has more of an impact on climate change than single-use plastic.

The installation arrived as environmental charity Hubbub, Suffolk Waste Partnership and Norfolk County Council the mark two years of their #FoodSavvy campaign to tackle food waste across the counties, and it will be lighting up Norwich Castle for two days (3rd and 4th November).

Norwich Castle glows white to highlight 6.7 million pints of milk poured down drains

Along with bread, potatoes and bananas, milk is one of the most frequently wasted foods in households. Whether it’s cow’s, soya, oat or nut milk, a total of 6.7 million pints of milk are thrown away across Suffolk and Norfolk each year – that’s the equivalent of more than 51,000 bathtubs! The research suggests that over a quarter of people have never frozen milk – an easy way to deal with surplus and one of many tips the campaign is keen to promote.

Whilst the issue of single-use plastic continues to gain momentum amongst consumers and businesses, awareness of the environmental impact of food waste (which has a far greater impact on climate change) is still fairly low in comparison. Fewer than 2 in 5 realise that food waste is a major cause of climate change.

Encouragingly the research also suggests a recent shift in behaviour as 2 in 5 people (41%) say they are throwing away less food since COVID restrictions were introduced. The top three reasons for this are planning meals more carefully (58%), using the freezer more (51%) and getting better at using leftovers (45%).

Cllr James Mallinder, Chairman of the Suffolk Waste Partnership said:

“The milk installation is designed to highlight the amount of food and drink that gets wasted in Suffolk and Norfolk every year – which represents a third of the waste that ends up in Suffolk’s general rubbish bins. Not only is this a terrible waste of food but its contribution to climate change is a major concern for us all. Most foods can be frozen, including milk and we hope that this call to action will help remind people to store their food correctly and stop it from going to waste. Small changes in our behaviour can have a big impact over time.”

Tessa Tricks, Creative Partner at Hubbub said:

“We want to make a splash with this installation and raise awareness of the environmental impact of wasting food and drink. We hope that by highlighting the issue of milk waste, people will start to think beyond the plastic bottle it’s often poured from and consider the huge amount of resource and energy that has gone into producing its contents.

Saving food from going to waste isn’t just a great way to do our bit for the environment – it can also help households save around £700 per year. #FoodSavvy is packed with tips and challenges to help people slash their waste at home. We’re calling on families across Norfolk and Suffolk to get on board over the coming months and see what they can save.”

Information on Food Savvy’s milk campaign can be found here and recipe inspiration to use up milk can be found here

Don’t forget, for up to date information on Food Savvy campaigns and for tips, recipes ideas and more, follow Food Savvy Suffolk on Twitter and Facebook