Published on 16th March 2022

Andigestion plant at Bishops Cleeve

See practical advice, food savvy behaviours and tips on how we can all easily reduce the food we waste in our homes, on council clean green webpages

The second annual Food Waste Action Week took place last week, raising people’s awareness of the huge impact of household food waste on climate change.

The UK throws away an astonishing 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year. This food waste is responsible for nearly 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to 5.4% of the UK’s total territorial emissions. The majority, 4.5 million tonnes, is food that could have been eaten (approximately 10 million meals) and is worth approximately £14 billion, or £60 a month to an average family with two children. It requires an area almost the size of Wales to produce all the food and drink currently wasted and thrown away in the UK.

Cheltenham’s cabinet member for recycling, waste and street services councillor Iain Dobie visited ‘Andigestion’ just outside Bishops Cleeve this week to see exactly what happens to Cheltenham’s food waste.

The process of recycling food is part of a four-step approach from the moment it is collected from households:

  1. Food waste collection at the kerbside
  2. Food processing in one of the mixing tanks to turn it into a pulpable ‘soup’
  3. Energy production through the generation of biogas
  4. Bio fertilizer spreading.

Cllr Iain Dobie, said: ‘’It was great visiting Andigestion to see what goes into turning food waste into renewable energy and fertilizer, but it’s astonishing to see the enormous volume of food thrown away each week. Last year, a belly busting 3,916.90 tonnes of food was collected from across Cheltenham. A big thank you if you already reduce, reuse and recycle your food waste, but we need to do more to prevent needless waste and to help protect the planet.’’

This year’s ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign showed that used properly, the freezer is the king of the kitchen. In fact, freezing and defrosting just three key meat items that are commonly not used in time (fresh chicken, bacon, and sausages) could reduce waste of those items by as much as 15,000 tonnes per annum. And, when it comes to defrosting, busy households can avoid a lengthy overnight defrost by using their microwave instead – similar to using a toaster to defrost sliced bread from the freezer.

Residents are encouraged to visit the council’s clean green webpages as it shares simple tips and ideas that people can try to stop wasted food adding to climate change, available at

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Notes to editor

The figure of 25 million tonnes CO2e is based on the total household food waste of 6.6 million tonnes (including inedible parts).

Love Food Hate Waste aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help the UK public to act on this issue. It shows that by doing some easy practical everyday things in the home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit the environment, and our pockets too. Love Food Hate Waste is managed by WRAP.

Love Food Hate Waste runs an annual survey of people’s habits and knowledge around food waste. This highlighted that 81% of UK citizens are concerned about climate change, but only 32% see a clear link with food waste. The survey helped to inform the ‘Theme of the Week’ and the development of materials to motivate people to act.

WRAP is a global NGO based in the UK. It is one of the UK’s top 5 environmental charities and works with governments, businesses and individuals to help ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably.