London campaign to curb crust waste launched

A campaign to help reduce the number of bread crusts thrown away in London every year has been launched by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA).

According to new research from the NLWA, 254 million crusts are likely to be binned each year as one in four people say they overlook the end slices of loaves. That’s the equivalent of just under 13 million loaves of bread – or over £13m – ending up in the bin.

Overall, 43% of households throw away crusts, the research found (see below for more information). Notably, 15% don’t eat the end of sliced loaves and one in 10 reject the ends of fresh loaves. There’s also a generational difference, with 15% of 16 to 24-year-olds cutting the crusts off sandwiches compared to just 4% of the over-55s.

As a result, the NLWA has commissioned charity Keep Britain Tidy to launch free ‘Save a Crust’ workshops in north London. There, professional chefs from the Skills Training Network will demonstrate how to make tasty treats from leftover bread.

Tips include freezing crusts and using them to make breadcrumbs for savoury dishes, tossing them with butter, sugar and cinnamon for a snack similar to doughnuts, or using them in a tiramisu or stuffing.

The workshops will be taking place across all north London boroughs over the next five weeks, with a live outdoor event in Wood Green on 2 February.

“What’s important is that we start to shift the culture of just binning without thinking. Discarding your crusts may seem a small thing to do, but each crust adds to the huge food waste mountain that is damaging the environment and is very costly to manage,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, chair of NLWA.

“We want to show that small changes can have a big impact and that’s one reason we’ve launched our Save a Crust campaign. Making brand new dishes and treats from a product you simply would have thrown away otherwise is a brilliant way for households to reduce their food waste and save some money – while brushing up on their baking skills.”

What do people do with uneaten crusts?

  • 15% say they use them in cooking or baking
  • 32% feed them to animals or birds
  • 12% compost them at home
  • One in five puts crusts in their food waste caddy
  • One in five throw them in the general rubbish bin

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