We met up with Laurie King, Food Sharing Hub Coordinator at Zero Waste Edinburgh, to pick his brains about the problems and solutions to food waste in Edinburgh.
Why is preventing waste important to you?
Wasted food is a major issue on a local and global scale. In Edinburgh alone, according to our calculations, we’re wasting 54,000 meals worth of food every week. Given this is part of the related issue of overproduction in society we feel it is important to do something to add value to excess so that good food is not seen as rubbish and without any worth.
What are you doing to prevent waste?
Here at Zero Waste Edinburgh, we are coordinating a project called the Food Sharing Hub. It will be Scotland's first excess food supermarket, a base from which to redistribute excess from Edinburgh businesses. The Hub will enable us to build upon the 25 businesses we currently collect surplus food from, so that we can start working with supermarkets.
In order to open the Hub, we’re currently running a campaign called ‘Tyred of Food Waste’ to crowd fund for two cargo bikes, increase the amount of food we can transport quickly around the city in a low carbon way! With the bikes, we can save over 250kg of food a week. Ultimately, we want to inspire people and businesses to combat their food waste habits and scale up our involvement in the city.
What's your favourite leftover recipe or tip?
I love to use my vegetable cuttings (especially onion skins and carrot and celery tops) to make a delicious homemade veggie stock! All you need to do is boil 4-6 cups of (clean) scraps in a large pot of water, and let them simmer for an hour. It can then be stored in glass jars in the fridge, and added to any soup for some extra flavour :)
Finally, what advice would you give someone who wants to cut down on their food waste but isn't sure where to start?
The best way to start reducing your food waste is to plan your food shop. Make a list and stick to it. Resist those impulse buys! When you've made a meal, if you have overestimated how much you needed to cook up, just pop the leftovers in a tupperware, store them in the fridge overnight, and enjoy them for lunch the next day. You can easily save yourself £5 a day by doing this - that's £35 a week!