09 Jan 2017 16:32

The post-Christmas diet and detox is a common new year’s resolution, with many people starting 2017 with good intentions to eat less and lose weight. Berkshire Waste management partnership re3 is asking residents to also think about wasting less food as a way to save money while losing pounds.

Love Food Hate Waste has found that binning unused food costs the average UK household £470 a year, rising to £700 for a family with children, the equivalent of around £60 a month.

At a local level, recent research from re3 shows that an estimated 22,836 tonnes of food waste is thrown away a year from houses across the whole of the re3 area of Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham. To put that in perspective, a tonne is the weight of a small car.

Using the Love Food Hate Waste average household calculation, re3 householders are throwing away up to an estimated  £85m of food a year, and at a cost of over £2.4m from their council tax payments to process it. This comes at a time when council budgets are severely stretched.

To help address the problem at its source, re3 and Love Food Hate Waste are running a series of training sessions throughout Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham to help people get the most out of their food and share food waste reduction tips with their friends and family.

The first of these take place at the Open Learning Centre, Bracknell, on Thursday 26th January 9.30am – 12.30pm, and in Wokingham at the Rainbow Park Community Centre, Winnersh, on Saturday 28th January, 9.30am – 12.30pm. The free sessions are designed to provide easy, practical tips and advice on how to freeze food, use leftovers, plan meals and – especially apt at this time of year - control portion size. Attendees will be asked to share what they have learnt within their own communities.

Bracknell Forest’s Executive Member for Environment and Chairman of the Joint Waste Disposal Board, Cllr Mrs Dorothy Hayes MBE said: “I’m looking forward to attending the first of the Love Food Hate Waste training sessions as I have been assured that even the most efficient of recyclers will come away having learnt something new. By throwing away food, we pay for it twice – from our grocery bill and as council tax payers – so it is vital that we have a better understanding of the value of food and how we can get the most out of what we buy.”

Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Liz Terry said: “We know that other councils offer a food waste collection service, and we have been investigating the cost and benefits of introducing one in the re3 area, but by simply collecting more types of waste we are not addressing the issue of too much rubbish being produced in the first place.

If we can cut down on household food waste, we can save money for own families and also for our communities, as savings can be diverted to frontline council services.”

Wokingham Borough Council’s Executive Member for Environment Cllr Angus Ross said: “As a waste management partnership, re3 is constantly looking at ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Food waste is an area in which we can all make a difference by making small changes.  By planning our meals, only buying the food we know we’ll eat within its use-by date and eating leftovers, we can tackle food waste together.”

To book your free place at the Bracknell session, please go to For Wokingham, please visit

Reading session dates will be available shortly. If your community group is interested in hosting a session, please contact re3 on 0118 937 3460,, or via Facebook or Twitter @re3recycling.

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