The London Borough of Havering has launched a new challenge to help residents waste less food and save themselves money. The challenge runs alongside London Green Points – Havering, a recycling reward scheme which has been running in the Borough since January 2014. The challenge was launched at Romford Market and was attended by Cllr Osman Dervish.

The Food Waste Challenge will provide Havering Council with a cutting-edge approach to tackling household food waste, by engaging residents in more sustainable behaviours. With around 40% of black sack waste in Havering being made up of food waste, the challenge is designed to reduce waste produced and teach households how they could save themselves money. 

The challenge will last five months, with residents interacting with an online platform and receiving targeted digital communications about five food waste ‘themes’ which have been identified by WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) as ways that households can reduce their food waste: storing food correctly, understanding date labels, portion control, planning meals and making use of leftovers.

For each theme residents are provided with advice on how they can tackle food waste – such as the optimum temperature for their fridge and freezer, where bread should be stored to make it last longest and what tools they can use to ensure the correct portion sizes. They are then asked to make a pledge about what they are going to do in order to cut their own food waste. Then, each week residents receive an email asking them if they have completed their pledge. If they have, residents will receive Green Points.

Residents will need to be signed up to the London Green Points – Havering reward scheme if they are not already and then will able to access the Food waste Challenge once logged into their account at www.localgreenpoints.com/havering.  After they have made their first pledge they will be entitled to receive a gift to help them with their food waste reduction as well as the extra Green Points.

Green Points can be spent online in an eShop, which contains over 1,000 sustainable products, or can be donated to local charities in the Borough: Tapestry, Tweed Way Hall Community Association, the Havering Music Makers, Saint Francis Hospice, Motorvations, Havering Mind, the Romford Salvation Army, Friends of Cottons Park or the Harold Hill Food Bank. Every 400 Green Points that residents earn are worth £1 to spend or donate.

Since its launch in January 2014, London Green Points – Havering has been rewarding residents in the Borough for reducing waste and increasing their recycling, with positive feedback from residents. The scheme allows members to earn points, which they can choose to donate to a local charity or community project or spend on a choice of vouchers.

Councillor Osman Dervish said, “We are very pleased to see residents so engaged with waste prevention and we are confident the Food Waste Challenge will be well-received by residents. Not only will residents be able to save money on their monthly food shop, they will also be able to earn themselves more Green Points with which they can support fantastic local causes in the community or treat themselves.”

Graham Simmonds, from Local Green Points said: “Through working with our local authority partners across the country we have developed a good understanding of the particular issues around food waste and household behaviours, and I am confident residents will really want to get involved in the Food Waste Challenge and we will see some excellent results”.