What actually happens to the stuff in your food waste caddy, and why is it important?

Recycle Food Waste

Research undertaken by WRAP in 2018 suggested that we throw away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year in the UK. Of that, almost three quarters (70% of the total) is food which we could have eaten (a whopping 4.5 million tonnes).

Those figures are pretty staggering, but rather than sharing recipes to help you use up that soggy veg in the back of the fridge (like this one, for a versatile curry paste, or this one, for chuck-it-together veggie hash); instead, this post looks at how to make the best use of the stuff that we can’t necessarily eat.

When it comes to things like teabags, coffee grounds, eggshells, and leftovers from cooking meat & fish, how we dispose of these inedible items can make a big difference to the planet.

Why is using a food waste caddy so important?

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Recycle Wales.

With people now cooking and consuming more food in the house thanks to lockdown (and working from home), it’s more important than ever to make sure all of our food waste goes into a food waste caddy, and not into general waste.

But it’s not just about keeping the local seagulls out of our bin bags…

In Wales, most local authorities send their kerbside food waste to an anaerobic digestion facility, where it is turned into renewable energy to power homes and communities.

Anaerobic digestion involves the natural breakdown of food into methane and carbon dioxide gas. These gases are then used to generate electricity to power homes and the local community; reducing the need for non-renewable energy sources which accelerate climate change.

At present, despite the fact that every local authority in Wales collects food waste, almost a quarter of our ‘general rubbish’ is contaminated with the stuff. And whilst 21% of people in Wales are recycling more food waste than they were six months ago, we can still do much better!

‘Dirty Vegan’ star Matt Pritchard recently accompanied a collection team to find out more.

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We're thrilled that vegan chef and ultra-athlete @pritchardswyd is supporting our Mighty Mission to get Wales to number one in the world at recycling ♻️💚 He recently spent the day with collection crews to see how food waste is recycled to create electricity to power our homes 🏡 Read all about it. Link in bio! Rydyn ni wrth ein boddau bod y cogydd figan a’r athletwr eithafol o fri, Matt Pritchard, yn cefnogi ein Hymgyrch Gwych i gael Cymru i’r brig ar restr ailgylchwyr gorau’r byd. Fe dreuliodd ddiwrnod gyda’r criwiau casglu’n ddiweddar, i ddarganfod sut caiff gwastraff bwyd ei ailgylchu i greu trydan i bweru ein cartrefi. #MightyRecyclers #RecycleWeek #ilovesthediff #wearecardiff #cardiffbloggers #wales #Cardiff #recycling #environmemt #protecttheplanet #renewableenergy #climatechange

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So how much electricity can our recycled food waste actually generate?

Between April 2018 and March 2019, Welsh local authorities sent 115,222 tonnes of food waste to anaerobic digestion facilities, which generated enough energy to power over 8,500 homes for a year.* But how much impact can one person’s waste really have?

To break it down:

  • 2 banana peels can generate enough electricity to fully charge one iPad
  • 32 banana peels can generate enough energy to a typical home for an hour
  • 35 teabags can generate enough electricity to power a TV for one hour
  • A full food waste caddy can generate enough electricity to boil a kettle three times – think about that one next time you make yourself a cuppa!

*The 115,222 tonnes combines household and non-household (i.e. commercial) food waste.

Find out more

For more information on how your food waste is turned into energy, and to order a food waste caddy click here.

Bluestone National Park is also offering one Mighty Recycler the chance to win an amazing 3-night, weekend staycation for four people at their luxury resort in beautiful Pembrokeshire. To find out more and enter, visit https://walesrecycles.org.uk/mighty-recycler-competition.

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