North East VCSE Sector has an Important Role to Play in Addressing Food Waste
The North East England Climate Coalition’s (NEECCo) Waste and Resources Planning Group arranged a ‘food waste and the climate emergency’ event which ran on the 5th October at the Magic Hat Café in Newcastle. The aims of the event were to establish the impact of food waste on the environment, and how voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in the region can be part of the solutions.
NEECCo’s Waste and Resource Management Planning Group has been created to look at how the waste sector in the North East can play it’s part in achieving net zero. A major focus for the group has been food waste, with a goal being to make total food waste per citizen the lowest in the UK.
The event was sponsored by Newcastle’s food waste hub, Bind, whose flagship project is the Magic Hat Café, a city centre café which produces all its meals entirely from surplus. Going Green Together also sponsored this event, as they are a programme designed to support VCSE organisations and communities in the North East and Cumbria to take action on the climate emergency.
Tackling food waste is essential when it comes to addressing the climate emergency. WRAP have reported that if every UK household stopped wasting food for one day, it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 640,000 trees per day (which is around 230 million per year). Not only this, but the UK produces the highest amount of food waste in Europe, which is an estimated 14 million tonnes of food waste each year, according to the European Commission.
Working with the VONNE Climate Action Alliance, NEECCO’s Waste and Resources Planning Group organised this event to reach out to all VCSE sector organisations in the region who work in the community around food, reuse and food waste. The goal of the event was to explore what the issues are and how we can work together towards solutions, and support and add value to the region’s local authorities who will be introducing food waste collections for North East residents. Nathaniel Spain, Project Coordinator of Going Green Together commented after the event, “Going Green Together was very pleased to be able to support this food waste meeting. The Going Green Together project was created to help bring voluntary and community organisations together to learn about the climate emergency and what action they can take to address it. This linked-up approach is necessary for any form of climate action to be successful, and this meeting was a fantastic example of how organisations across different sectors can inspire each other when brought together. Managing food waste is an important part of the puzzle in moving towards Net Zero, and this meeting was a vital stepping stone to future action around this area in the North East.”
After the success of the first meeting, it is exciting to see how NEECCo can harness this network and its knowledge to support a holistic approach to tackling food waste going forward.