For every 2 tonnes of food eaten in the UK, 1 tonne is wasted – 10 million tonnes in total every year. In Devon, food waste makes up to 24 per cent of a household dustbin, costing £3.3 million to dispose of and the average household wastes up to £700 throwing food away each year. The cost of food waste to the UK’s hospitality and food services industry is estimated at £3 billion a year.

Led by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier (CIHEAM-IAMM) in France, the four-year long ECOWASTE4FOOD project is funded by Interreg Europe and will identify innovative ideas and practices that have the potential to be replicated or expanded within Devon.

The project gathers local authorities and stakeholders such as businesses and university departments, from across Europe to work together and share ideas.  For the upcoming meeting, Devon County Council will welcome delegates from the Waste Agency of Catalonia, Spain; Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, France; Wielkopolska Region, Poland; City of Ferrara, Italy; Region of Western Macedonia, Greece and Finland’s Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia.

Amongst the many ideas that Devon County Council are researching are local enterprises such as Grocycle, who grow mushrooms on spent coffee grounds and the New Lion Brewery who recently brewed beer from surplus bread, alongside tech solutions to reducing food waste such as the Olio app and online surplus redistribution platform, Takestock.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste said:

“Food waste is a huge area of concern so we are delighted to be playing our part to find answers along with authorities and businesses from across Europe who are facing the same issues of increasing resource scarcity, environmental impacts and rising costs.”

Annette Dentith, Devon County Council’s Principal Waste Manager, said:

“This is an exciting opportunity for the waste team at Devon County Council to make a difference to reducing waste beyond our day to day accountability of household waste. Interreg funded projects help local authorities across Europe find common ground so that we don’t all have to reinvent the wheel.  This project will give us a chance to research and support the best solutions in order to deliver better outcomes for Devon’s environment, residents and businesses.”

To find out more about the project and to get involved, please contact Annette via [email protected] .