Reducing waste proves to be ‘food for thought’ – and fun

Friday 17 February 2017

Food waste is at a shocking level - with the total amount throw away hitting 7.3 million tonnes - of which 4.4 tonnes are directly avoidable*.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE with Emma Stevenson from W5 at one of the NI Science Festival events held in Larne Town Hall about reducing food waste.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE was therefore very pleased to be able to attend Larne Town Hall for one of four ‘hands-on’ interactive shows for both family groups and parties of local schoolchildren.

It was all part of the Northern Ireland Science Festival, in this case, targeting food waste.

“It was great fun too,” said Cllr Wales. “The family groups - and especially the children - learned many things through demonstration, for example that it takes 25 large plastic bottles to make a single fleece for them to wear and that products as varied as garden benches and even carpets are also often made from 100% recycled plastic.

“I was delighted to support the W5 Team – who conducted the event – and to see first-hand how those taking part in the show were able to learn about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling our waste.

“The fact that it all took place in such a fun way, means that they will remember the lessons all the more clearly and hopefully reduce their own families’ waste output too,” the Mayor said.

Everyone got involved in activities such as working out how long it takes products as diverse as paper, plastic, nappies and glass to breakdown and decompose in a landfill site and also got some hands-on experience making plastic out of just cornflour, water and cooking oil.

The local youngsters and the family groups also enjoyed making ‘potions’ to demonstrate how heat makes the composting process faster.

The team then ended the show with a ‘big bang’ to demonstrate what happens when methane (given off from landfill sites) is ignited, which went down very well with the audience – especially the children.

The event was also fully interactive as team members also quizzed participants on some interesting facts about the amount of food waste throw away each year.

More practically, they also outlined the many simple things that everyone can do at home to make food last longer or help by re-using leftovers and therefore waste less.

The W5 team also urged that everyone starts ‘rethinking’ how they shop - planning meals better for example – and how, in such small-scale actions, they can collectively make a big difference.

They also highlighted follow-up exercises such as finding out more on why and how to save food waste - along with great ideas and recipes – by visiting the Love Food Hate Waste website.