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Clarity called for in fight to drive down food waste

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Clearer information could be key to getting more young people to recycle their food waste instead of binning it, suggests a new study done in Harrow.

Halving food waste by 2030 is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which aim to curb the planet’s climate emergency.

But as many as 52% of 18-24 year-olds living in the North West London borough put waste food waste in their general waste bins instead of recycling it. And only 20% recycle food waste, according to figures from Brunel University London.

Limited knowledge about the council’s separate waste food recycling services are the main reasons why, Brunel University researchers found.

The December study is one of the first to reveal how Covid 19 has reset attitudes to food waste, said consumer behaviour expert Professor Danae Manika at Brunel Business School.

“Residents are concerned about food waste now more than ever. They now prepare and plan meals at home more frequently while working remotely; and redundancies mean some maybe struggle to get food.”

“The research team plans to work with Harrow Council further on how to help residents recycle more of their food and waste less.”

Rebecca Johnson, head of Environment and Waste Strategy at Harrow Council said: “Harrow Council is proud to be one of the only West London Boroughs to offer food waste recycling to both households and flats. While many residents use this service, Brunel’s research identified that there are improvements around communication.

“Harrow Council are committed to improving engagement and about working with Brunel to explore innovative approaches to achieve this.”