Food Waste

Watch back: Making the most of food – cooking, storing and buying without waste webinar

By Katie Powell

The most recent free webinar in the #BristolFoodKind campaign looked at practical ways to “make the most of our food” such as ways to store and use it. The webinar was organised by Katie Powell and Sarah Hargreaves of Resource Futures, coordinators of the Food Waste area of excellence of Bristol’s Going for Gold. They were joined by Manu Maunganidze as Chair, and panellists Gemma Annan, Reena Anderson-Bickley, and the team from Bristol Junk Food Cafe who shared lots of tips and tricks to prevent food from going to waste.

Katie tells us about the event.

The #BristolFoodKind webinar series has been so enjoyable and enlightening, and I was really excited to get the opportunity to share the many opportunities to reduce food waste through this engaging campaign.

Working in sustainability I’m very aware how crucial reducing food waste is for environmental, financial and moral reasons. In fact, reducing food waste has recently been deemed the most important solution for tackling climate change. Did you know the average UK citizen spends £210 a year on food they don’t eat? And the amount of food waste produced globally is enough to feed 2 billion people a year, while 821 million people go to bed hungry?

In Bristol we are lucky to have so many talented and passionate people working to reduce, reuse and recycle food waste. Bristol is unique in so many ways – our Bristol Eating Better Award champions Bristol eateries that act on reducing food waste amongst other health and sustainability targets; we have a vibrant and active food redistribution scene with a range of organisations taking surplus food from businesses and redistributing it to those in need; we have our very own dedicated waste provider, Bristol Waste Company, who bring us innovative campaigns like #SlimMyWaste and #BinDigestion – helping and encouraging householders to reduce and recycle their food waste; and we have a thriving food community rich in diversity, innovation and fabulous world food. The webinar was a great opportunity to draw all this together and showcase the ways in which we as individuals can make the most of our food.

Watch back the webinar

Manu started the webinar discussing the disconnect between the food we eat and the animals and plants this comes from. He compared the ready availability of food we enjoy, and the low value we assign it, to his childhood experiences in Zimbabwe where communal eating and the absence of food waste were the norm, due in part to hunger and in part to the fact that everyone had been involved in growing and harvesting their food. Maybe the empty supermarket shelves we briefly experienced at the start of the pandemic will encourage us to begin developing this connection – I hope so!

Gemma works at Bristol Waste Company, Bristol’s own recycling and waste collection company. Bristol Waste Company collect 1,000 recycling trucks worth of food waste for recycling every year, but still 25% of the average Bristolian wheelie bin is food waste. Gemma shared some amazing tips for storing fruit and veg to make them last longer. Some of the most talked about storage tips on the day were storing carrots in water in the fridge (who knew?!) and using holey tights to store onions so that they can breathe. There are loads more of these tips and tricks online. I will definitely be following Gemma’s idea of putting a list of storage instructions that work for me on my fridge to follow when I get back from the shops.

Reena from Reena’s Rasoi – Kitchen had so many great ideas for ways to nourish both skin and soil using the food we would ordinarily waste. My personal highlight from this was her tip for recycling spoilt milk – mix one-part milk to one-part water and use this calcium, vitamin B and sugar-rich mix to encourage leafy growth in the garden. I occasionally do not finish my milk in time and it always puts me in a dilemma – I know the liquid can’t go in the food waste bin, and putting milk down the drain causes sewer blockages so I never know what to do with it – now I do! I’ll also be trying Reena’s skincare tips – dried and blended orange peel mixed with spoilt yoghurt or old avocados to refresh and invigorate – Reena’s skin is a wonderful advert for this way to make the most of our food!

Lucy told us about the work of Bristol Junk Food Café, which started as a student initiative offering mass catering and later moved into small scale supper clubs – all using surplus food from Bristol businesses. Lucy told us about how they developed recipes to use the food they commonly received, such as white bread, tomatoes, and mushrooms. All the recipes Lucy shared sounded delicious and really showed how even food that might have started looking a bit unappealing can be turned into a fine dining experience. I am definitely trying ‘going brown avocado cheesecake’! I’m hoping I’ll also be able to try the summer glut gazpacho if my tomato plants do well. Look out for more recipes from these guys on their Instagram feed.

It was really exciting to see the great engagement we had with everyone who attended the webinar – lots of people posted their own tips and tricks, as well as posing some great questions. The Q&A covered everything from best before dates to using food waste to deter slugs. I think my favourite thing about the webinar was how achievable the ideas each of the panellists shared were. After all, we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need loads of people doing every little bit they can. I’m grateful to have a few more things to try, and I’d love to see how you get on if you try any out!

Watch this webinar and the other #BristolFoodKind webinars and tell us what you think – tag #BristolFoodKind on socials or email Katie at

Visit Bristol Food Network for more information and resources on Bristol’s Good Food response to the pandemic. There are also more resources relating to reducing food waste on the Bristol Food Network website.

#BristolFoodKind is a collaboration between Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Bristol Food Network, Bristol City Council and Resource Futures. See our #BristolFoodKind food waste highlights, grow your own highlights and support local food highlights.

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So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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