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Nine London boroughs join TRiFOCAL food waste campaign

An innovative behaviour change project aimed at helping Londoners reduce food waste while promoting healthy and sustainable eating and the recycling of unavoidable food waste has announced that nine London boroughs that will be taking part in its initiative over the next two years.

Nine London boroughs join TRiFOCAL food waste campaign
The EU-funded Transforming City Food Habits for Life project, which the organisers have dubbed ‘TRiFOCAL’ for short, run by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), WRAP and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London, has today (16 March) announced the nine London boroughs that will be taking part in supporting the initiative.

WRAP statistics show that over eight million tonnes of food is consumed in London per year, and with the city’s population of 8.7 million residents projected to rise to over 10 million within 20 years, more than a million tonnes is added to consumption every year. Moreover, London households throw away an estimated 900,000 tonnes of food each year, of which 540,000 tonnes could have been eaten.

Bexley, Croydon, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Sutton and Tower Hamlets will be involved, with the initiative reaching over 2.3 million people, over a quarter of London’s total population. The results of the project will eventually be shared across the other 24 London boroughs.

The TRiFOCAL project is a behaviour change initiative led by LWARB’s Resource London programme, funded with a €3.2-million grant from the EU LIFE programme, to deliver a food waste project to act as a test bed for other European cities.

Using a range of approaches, including events, advertising and direct engagement, the project aims to induce behaviour change in householders, hospitality businesses, local communities and schools to:

  • prevent food waste by changing planning, shopping, storage and meal preparation behaviour;
  • promote healthy and sustainable eating by changing purchasing and preparation practices; and
  • recycle more unavoidable food waste.

An integrated communications campaign carried out this summer will also target large businesses in the boroughs.

Organisers hope that across the lifetime of the project it will engage with Londoners, including commuters and visitors, up to 20 community groups, offering workshops and training sessions for 2,000 individuals, 1,000 food service businesses, 30 large employers and 24 schools in London.

London households generate 540,000 tonnes of avoidable food waste each year, and TRiFOCAL organisers say that this project could save residents in the region of £330 million. It also hopes to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in the per capita tonnage of avoidable food waste generated by Londoners, from around 63 kilogrammes per resident to around 49 kilogrammes per annum, and reductions in global CO2 equivalent emissions of 430,000 tonnes per year.

The project, first announced in 2016, will be run over two years and aims to help Londoners cut down on unnecessary food waste. In addition to the nine boroughs, seven European cities – Barcelona, Brussels, Burgas (Bulgaria), Dublin, Milan, Oslo and Växjö (Sweden) – have also joined the programme, to replicate successes of the project across the EU.

Ambition for London to be leading source of inspiration for sustainable food management

Liz Goodwin, Chair of LWARB, announced the news today at The London Conference, saying: “I want London to become the leading city that others look to for inspiration about how to address some of the pressures all cities are facing, and sustainable consumption and management of food is right at the top of the list.

Nine London boroughs join TRiFOCAL food waste campaign
“The TRiFOCAL project is an exciting opportunity to find solutions. It’s great to be working with WRAP and Groundwork London as well as nine London boroughs and a range of European cities. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.” 

According to TRiFOCAL, this is the first time these core messages will be targeted on this scale, as part of a unified approach. There will be London-wide events and engagement to raise awareness of the programme, as well as a London harvest festival to ‘celebrate the value of food’.

Peter Maddox, Director, Government Programmes WRAP and Resource London board member, said: “It’s very exciting to announce this phase of TRiFOCAL London with our nine partner boroughs. Having this scale of support will help us test, measure and understand how we can apply learnings from these pilots across our capital city, and beyond.

“We shall test different approaches combining the three core themes of reducing food waste, healthy and sustainable eating, and increasing food waste recycling. This will help people and businesses save money, and benefit the environment.” 

More information on the project is available on the TRiFOCAL website

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