Celebrity chef, author and ultra-athlete Matt Pritchard (The Dirty Vegan) is backing a call by the Be Mighty campaign for people in Wales to recycle more of their food waste in an effort to combat climate change and reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy.
Food waste in Wales can be converted into energy through specialist facilities across the country, and in 2021-22 more than 10,000 Welsh homes were powered by food waste recycling. But data shows that last year approximately a quarter of all general rubbish contained food waste, meaning 100,000 tonnes of food waste wasn’t put into recycling caddies.
Climate action NGO WRAP has calculated that this wasted food could have powered an additional 7,500 homes in Wales for a whole year.
To help encourage more people to recycle their food waste, Matt is backing the Be Mighty campaign, launched by WRAP Cymru and the Welsh Government, to encourage the use of the caddy over the bin for all food waste.
Matt explained: “As someone who’s both passionate about food and the planet, this campaign is a real win-win for me. Being a chef, I care about how food gets to my plate, but the journey it has afterwards is equally as important! The idea that such a little change in our homes can help to power them with clean-green energy means we can all do our bit to tackle climate change, is brilliant.
“Wales is third in the world at household recycling, but anyone who knows me, also knows I love a challenge. So, I challenge the people of Wales to recycle their food waste and help us get to number one!”
A recent survey by WRAP showed that one of the biggest barriers to recycling food waste was the perceived ‘yuck factor’, with some people being put off by the idea of smells, spills and leaks from their food caddy.
While an impressive 95% of Welsh citizens are regular recyclers, this number drops to 78% when it comes to recycling food, despite the potential energy this can help to produce.
The Welsh Government has set a target to achieve 70% of all household waste to be recycled by 2025 and become a zero-waste nation by 2050.
Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “Food recycling is where we can make the biggest impact on Wales’ recycling rates, whilst also helping to tackling climate change.
“We know the people of Wales want to continue their good work with Wales being the third best country in the World for recycling, and this campaign will help further this by highlighting and educating how our food waste can become green energy, instead of ending up in landfill.”
Catherine David, Director Collaboration and Change at WRAP said: “People in Wales are phenomenal recyclers. Our recent study showed that almost 90% of people say that seeing Wales take the lead on recycling and environmental issues makes them proud and 86% go out of their way to recycle.
“However, we know there is always more we can do, including recycling all of our food waste to generate renewable energy and help Wales become the world leader in recycling.
“Whether you’re recycling your potato peelings, eggshells, banana skins or bones, remember that every scrap of food waste can help to create power for Welsh homes and communities – so Be Mighty and recycle your food waste.”
One family backing Matt is the Sciarrillo family from Dinas Powys. Keen recycler and Mum of three, Cristina, said:
“With three children at home, we produce a lot of food waste and it’s great to know that by recycling it we’re generating green energy. We fill our caddy within a day or two, and then we empty it into our main food bin outside. I always wash it with washing up liquid to keep it fresh and clean.
“Food recycling has become so ingrained into our dinnertime routine that we do it automatically now – it’s simple really and it makes such a difference!”
Matt’s top tips to beat the food waste yuck factor:
- Use a caddy liner – Lining your kitchen caddy will keep your food waste contained, helping to reduce smells and spills, and preventing it from getting mucky.
- Avoid liquid items – Keep liquids such as milk, juice, or cooking oil out of your caddy to prevent ‘bin juice’ from collecting at the bottom.
- Empty your food waste caddy regularly – Empty the contents of your kitchen caddy into your outdoor food waste bin regularly, before it gets too full, to prevent smells and odours. Remember to tie caddy liners tightly before moving them from your caddy to your bin.
- Keep a lid on it – It may seem obvious but closing the lid of your kitchen caddy will stop flies getting in, and odours getting out.
- Keep your caddy clean – Clean your kitchen caddy every few weeks. Give it a rinse in the sink. For a more thorough clean, disinfect your caddy with leftover hot water from your kettle and some washing up liquid.
To find out more about recycling food waste visit walesrecycles.org.uk