Reducing waste and the ecological footprint


Use the links below for useful information, toolkits and guides to help you take action.

1. Run city-wide campaigns

Disco Soups are events in which people come together to dance, cook and eat soup made with vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. Eden Communities have produced a how to guide for running a Disco Soup.

Feeding the 5000 is an event where unwanted food is used to feed large numbers of people in a public space and thus shine a light on the global food waste scandal.

Love Food Hate Waste runs national and local campaigns to raise awareness on food waste and advise on how to reduce it. See the 'Save More' resource pack designed to engage hard to reach members of the community.

The Pig Idea uses public events and media to campaign for a lifting of the ban on feeding food waste that is no longer fit for human consumption to pigs.

Veg Cities asks organisations to pledge to increase veg consumption through food waste reduction.

2. Help producers to reduce their ecological impact

Biodynamic Association provides training and distance learning opportunities on biodynamic principles and practice and support through a network of advisers.

Farm Machinery Locator have produced an interactive visualisation showing the real-time environmental impact of human consumption.

Friends of the Earth's briefing looks at how climate change undermines everyone’s right to food, the key role agriculture plays in driving climate change.

Garden Organic provides advice and guidelines on organic growing as well as training through their Master Gardener programme.

Global Calculator is an interactive and open-source model of the world’s energy, land and food systems. 

Global Justice Now's policy briefing Silent but Deadly - Estimating the real climate impact of agribusiness corporations

Insinkerator have produced an infographic on Global Food Waste: The Numbers Behind The Problem

Organic Centre Wales has a booklet on the principles of organic farming and the process of conversion, including grants and other support.

The Permaculture Association offers a wide range of courses on permaculture design and approaches and has a network of support groups.

Pesticide Action Network provides guidance on Integrated Pest Management for farmers, growers and land managers to help reduce their use of pesticides.

The Scottish Government offers training and support to existing organic farmers and growers and those considering conversion.

The Soil Association provides training, advice and support to farmers and growers on all aspects of organic production.

The Soil Association’s Innovative Farmers project organises field labs linking farmers and researchers to find sustainable lasting solutions to practical problems.

3. Incorporate the Food Waste Hierarchy

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has developed a comprehensive toolkit on Reducing the Food Wastage Footprint

Feeding the 5000 provides a range of resources and opportunities to help individuals, communities and businesses reduce food waste.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s FoodSave initiative presents case studies on restaurants working to implement a Food Waste Hierarchy approach.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has a toolkit for the Prevention and reduction of food and drink waste in businesses and households.

WRAP's report Reducing food waste by extending product life concluded that an increase of just one day on product life across a range of foods could prevent around 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year.

4. Establish a food waste collection scheme

Friends of the Earth have produced a briefing paper explaining anaerobic digestion and its place in waste management.

NetRegs provides guidance for dealing with canteen waste for businesses in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Food Waste Network provides a free service matchmaking any UK business with its ideal food waste recycling service.

WRAP has developed a guide for local authorities Collecting food waste from small businesses and schools.

WRAP provides guidance on food waste recycling for businesses including a savings calculator and search tool for collection schemes.

The Wastebook provides information and guidance on the use of vegetables oils and fats as biodiesel.

5. Provide training on waste and resource efficiency

Carbon Trust provides advice to businesses throughout the food chain on how to cut their carbon emissions and save energy.

Champions 12.3 make The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste specically addressing to restaurants. It finds that the average restaurant is saving $7 for every $1 invested in reducing kitchen food waste.

The Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland) has a guide to minimising food waste in the catering sector.

Love Food Hate Waste has a resource pack and provides free training sessions on reducing food waste for businesses in the hospitality and food service sector.

Sustainable Food Service provides information, resources and practical help for foodservice operators on Restaurant Waste Reduction.

Sustainable Restaurant Association has a toolkit for restaurants interested in reducing food waste.

Sustain’s Reducing food waste: Advice from chefs and catering professionals highlights professionals’ practical experiences of what works best in reducing food waste. 

WRAP provides support to food businesses who sign up to their voluntary Hospitality and Food Service Agreement. They have an online resource efficiency tool including virtual tours of business premises and online training materials.

WRAP's report Food Futures: From Business as Usual to Business Unusual explores future trends of our food system, the huge challenges we will be facing and the opportunities we need to grab in order to ensure sustainability.

6. Promote home and community food composting

Community Composting Network helps individuals, community groups and social enterprises to compost and use food and green waste in their local communities.

Garden Organic provides information on home and community composting and runs a Master Composter programme.

Valuing Community Composting has developed a Toolkit for Unlocking the Potential of Community Composting.

WRAP provides an analysis of home composting and signposts to organisations that can supply composting bins and other materials.

WRAP provides guidance on community composting and helps to address the practical issues that can arise.

7. Collect harvest surplus and unwanted produce

Gleaning Network UK connects volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to harvest more food from fields and direct it to those most in need.

The Urban Orchard Project is identifying and mapping existing fruit and trees to prevent waste and increase access to healthy food.

8. Collect and redistribute consumable surplus food

FareShare redirects edible food that would otherwise go to waste to front line charities such as breakfast clubs, women’s refuges and luncheon clubs for older people.

FoodCycle collects surplus food from supermarkets that volunteers prepare into healthy meals in donated kitchen spaces and serve to those in need.


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation 

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