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Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

London food waste 'big problem'

Jennifer Conway
Politics Show

Food waste
Is enough being done to reduce the amount of food we bin?

Food waste costs the UK an estimated £12bn a year.

This works out to be £480 per household annually, going up to £680 for households with children.

A third of the food London buys ends up in the bin.

Every day in the capital we throw away:

176,000 bananas. Put end to end that stretches 22 miles, the length of the jubilee line.

560,000 potatoes. That would fill St Paul's Cathedral twice.

750,000 slices of bread. Stacked up, that's over 30 times the height of the Gherkin.

1,450,000 grapes. Enough to fill the House of Commons twice.

400,000 untouched apples. Enough for 28,571 litres of apple juice

73,000 whole eggs. Enough to make an omelette for everybody in Romford.

In recent years lots has been done to reduce this waste, from restaurants offering a choice of portion sizes to supermarkets cutting down on 'buy one get one free' offers.

But you only need to look to London's streets of an evening to see that there still a big food waste problem.

In the bins outside sandwich shops, bags are filled with untouched surplus food.

But there are ways for companies to get rid of their food in a socially responsible way.

'Fareshare' is a food distribution charity, passing on surplus and waste food to charities who work with the most vulnerable people.

In London last year, they redistributed over 300 tonnes of quality food to 80 charities.

This equates to over 734,000 meals for people experiencing poverty - a major factor leading to food poverty.

Fareshare estimate that this is only the tip of the iceberg, with the rest of the edible surplus food just filling landfills.

The charity thinks government guidelines or targets would drastically reduce the amount of food waste that goes to landfills, while also helping Londoners.

Without such guidelines, can we only expect the problem to get worse

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