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Two chefs standing in Cardiff Market

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Dirty Vegan Matt Pritchard and Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts launch new Be Mighty. Recycle drive to cut £786 million food waste bill in Wales

New figures show people in Wales are wasting £786 million by binning food that could have been eaten or recycled. This is costing the average Welsh household* almost £600 a year.

The research, by climate NGO WRAP Cymru, shows the average household of two are wasting £49 of food a month, increasing to £83 for a household of four.

The figures are released as part of the Be Mighty. Recycle campaign by Wales Recycles, a part of WRAP Cymru. The Welsh Government funded campaign encourages people to use all the food they buy to reduce waste and save money, and recycle anything that can’t be eaten, such as eggshells or banana skins.

To support the campaign, Welsh chefs ‘Dirty Vegan’ Matt Pritchard and S4C’s Chris Roberts (known as Flamebaster) took over Cardiff Market to cook a series of quickfire dishes, that are easy to whip up and inspired by Wales’ most wasted food items - bread, fruit, vegetables, chicken and potatoes.

Two chefs in Cardiff Market, one holding a food waste caddy and one chopping vegetables on a wooden chopping board

Market visitors were invited to try the dishes and encouraged to recreate them at home, with the chefs communicating the all-important message of recycling food that can’t be eaten to create renewable energy.

Two chefs standing in Cardiff Market holding white bowls of food and forks.

Campaign ambassador, ‘Dirty Vegan’ Matt Pritchard, said:

“A huge amount of food that could have been eaten is still being thrown in the rubbish bin. We all need to remember Don’t Feed the Bin! Let’s feed ourselves, friends and families first and recycle any food which can’t be eaten so it can be converted into energy.

“By using these recipe ideas, which are available online, everyone can make an impact on their food waste and their pockets. The ideas pull together quick, tasty and easy dishes using food that most people already have in the house. We can all save some money, cut down on our food waste which is great for the environment.”

The chef Matt Pritchard standing in Cardiff Market wearing a wide-brimmed hat and string a saucepan of food on a hob.

Chris Roberts, aka Flamebaster, said:

“We’ve all been there, going through the fridge and feeling guilty about what we haven’t eaten, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Make the most of your food with meals using our ideas as inspiration, and recycle anything you can’t eat. Just think, every time you recycle a banana skin, you could be powering a lightbulb in your home.

“Taking this message on the road today will inspire everyone to try these tips and tricks at home. We’re looking forward to engaging with Cardiff Market’s customers and seeing what they think of our tasty ideas! We’ll even be visiting the Ffwrness pizza boys and challenging them to cook up a pizza storm with food that may otherwise have been wasted.”

Chef Chris Roberts standing in Cardiff Market wearing a red apron with his hands on his hips.

Julie James, Minster for Climate Change said:

"It is great that as a nation we have one of the best records for recycling, but we can do more.

Reducing the food waste you create in the first place is really important, and this campaign will give you lots of ideas to use up all the edible food and leftovers that you have. But if you need to throw any food away please recycle it in a food caddy that your local authority provides. This is an important way to help us avoid any unnecessary waste and tackle the climate and nature emergency".

Commenting on the progress being made in Wales, Angela Spiteri, Campaign Manager for Wales Recycles at WRAP Cymru, the NGO behind the campaign said:

“We are wasting an enormous £786 million worth of food that could have been eaten. That’s a significant amount for a relatively small nation and a lot of money that Welsh households could do with having in their pockets.

“What’s more, a lot of that food also went into the bin instead of the food caddy! In 2023 alone, enough food was recycled in Wales to power 10,000 homes or 160 schools. That’s because people in Wales are brilliant at recycling, we’re one of the best in the world, but we need to go further.

“That’s why our focus for this Be Mighty. Recycle campaign is to raise awareness of the cost to households of needlessly feeding the bin. Put simply, if we stop feeding our bins, we can save money and create cleaner, greener energy instead.”

Find out more about the Be Mighty campaign and how to make a difference here

The statistics:

Statistics taken from WRAP, 2024, Household Food And Drink Waste In Wales 2021/22. Details of the data and calculations use for the financial cost of food waste can be found in the Household Food And Drink Waste In Wales 2021/22 report. As a summary, data from the DEFRA Family food survey is used to calculate the cost per edible kg of food purchased. This cost per edible kg is then multiplied by the total weight of all edible food waste for each food type to get the total cost for Wales.

* 2.3 people

*** Be Mighty. Recycle is a campaign delivered by WRAP Cymru through the Wales Recycles brand funded by Welsh Government.

**** A separate compositional analysis, carried out across all 22 local authorities - looked at the make-up of Welsh household waste. The results show that food waste is the material most likely to be found in general rubbish which could be recycled – meaning it is where Welsh homeowners could make the biggest impact on recycling rates in Wales.

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