WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme)

2.1m tonnes of lunch waste going to UK landfills each year, new study shows

Ham, bread, cheese, cold meats and other typical sandwich and lunchbox foods such as fruit, crisps and yogurts are forgotten and eventually binned, to the tune of GBP 5.06bn every year, while we buy sandwiches and take-aways at lunchtime. 2.1 million tonnes of food fit for a packed lunch is heading to landfill each year, including: GBP 821m worth of breads (530,000 tonnes), GBP 94m worth of sliced meats (23,000 tonnes). But the nation seems split on packed lunches. The research shows that nearly a third of workers (28%) say they never bring in lunch from home, while another third (33%) say they take lunch to work every working week day.  

“There’s obviously a move by some of us to save money and bring lunch to work and this new survey shows that some of us could be saving up as much as GBP 120 each to spend at Christmas, if we start free lunching now,” says Julia Falcon from Love Food Hate Waste. “Most of the time there’s a packed lunch waiting in the fridge if only we noticed it and there really is such a thing as a ‘free lunch’ when you take last night’s leftovers with you.”

The research also shows that although over 80% of British workers have access to a microwave and 86% to a fridge at the office, only one in five uses up leftovers for lunch.

“As the days start to get colder a piping hot lunch made from last night’s leftovers could be a welcome option for busy workers,” says Ms Falcon.

37% of the people surveyed said they would use their leftovers for lunch if they had more ideas about how to use them. http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ is featuring ‘Free Lunching’ in the lead up to Christmas, with new, fuss free ideas on making up great packed lunches from items already in the fridge. The website also includes helpful advice on using leftovers and information on how to store foods safely. 

Top four ‘free lunching’ benefits:

Save money (money not spent on lunch – on average £3.33 - can go straight to Christmas presents)
Cut waste (use up food you might not have eaten, and bring in your own reusable packaging)
Having exactly, and only, what you want (make sure you have just the right amount)
Knowing exactly what is in your food (because you made it!)
The Food We Waste report showed that in the UK we buy and then throw away £10bn worth of food which could have been eaten.

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