According to a House of Commons report, families in the UK throw away £700 worth of food per year, which is not only a needless cost but a source of significant negative environmental and social impacts.
Loughborough has taken a leading role in addressing this issue, with a number of local charities and organisations, such as the Utilise Social Café, which stemmed from a project set-up by School of Business and Economics students, and the University working to reduce both the occurrence of food waste and its negative impacts.
Academics from the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering’s Centre for Sustainable Manufacturing and Recycling Technologies are part of a new £800,000 research project that examines how food manufacturing systems can be improved to reduce waste and staff and students on campus are also committed to tackling the issue.
However, the scale of the food waste challenge means that it cannot be tackled by researchers or local community groups alone.
In response it this, Loughborough University is hosting a panel discussion on 12 October that brings together key stakeholders and researchers to enable them to voice their experience and concerns regarding food waste, identify what the latest challenges and enablers are and begin the process of developing successful interventions.
Confirmed panellists include Loughborough MP Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, LEAF Chief Executive Caroline Drummond MBE, Chief Executive Officer of Hubbub Trewin Restorick, Senior Environment and Waste Management Technician at Leicestershire County Council Matt Copley and Manager of Tesco Loughborough Ady Bryan.
Dr Elliot Woolley, of the Centre for Sustainable Manufacturing and Recycling Technologies – the research and development centre that has organised the event – said of the discussion's importance: “Food waste is a drain on social wellbeing, the national economy and the global environment.
“Research from Loughborough University, led by myself and Professor Shahin Rahimifard, has strived to reduce both manufacturing food waste and consumer food waste to reduce these impacts.
“In this event, food waste prevention and management opportunities will be explored alongside valuable insights from the expert panel to provide an up-to-date understanding of the associated challenges to the wider public.”
The event will begin at 6.15pm on the 12 October in Room J.0.01, Edward Herbert Building, with tea and cake, followed by a keynote talk by Hubbub’s Trewin Restorick, who will set the scene for the main panel discussion.
The event is free to attend and is open to everyone. There are a limited number of seats so those interested in attending are asked to book in advance here.