Selby mum fights food waste

A Selby mum has drastically cut her family’s rubbish after seeing Selby District Council’s ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign.

The drive to reduce food waste across Selby is a part of Selby District Council’s year-long, ‘Don’t Be A Waster’ project to clean up the area.

After seeing the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ tweets on social media, mum-of-two, Sam Horsey said, “We wanted to do it for just two weeks; put all our rubbish in just one bag. After three days, we couldn’t fit all our tins, bottles, vegetable peelings, newspapers, junk mail and plastic food containers in it. So, we had to recycle as much as possible.”

The family managed to meet the two-week challenge and chose to carry on afterwards, but decided to find out more about food waste.

Why is food waste bad?

About two thirds of the rubbish we throw away is biodegradable, so when it rots, it gives off greenhouse gases. Many modern landfill sites can capture a lot of these gases to produce energy, but a large amount still leaks into the atmosphere.

Most UK landfill sites will be full by 2018, so we need to reduce our rubbish.

Types of Food Waste

Food waste that can’t be composted or recycled includes:

  • meat, fish and bone
  • plate scrapings
  • cooked rice, pasta or other grains

However, if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you can get a garden compost bin .

Food waste that can be composted includes:

  • fruit and vegetables (and their skins)
  • tea bags and coffee grounds
  • used tissues or paper kitchen towels
  • all garden waste (as long as it’s less than 50mm or two inches in diameter)

A small compost bin, kept in the kitchen, can be emptied into the garden compost bin regularly. If in doubt, there is an excellent page on Selby District Council website at


Preventing Food Waste

Government advisory body, ‘WRAP’, calculates that an average family wastes up to £700 of food a year. Here are some ideas to save money:

  1. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
  2. Plan ahead and shop with specific meals in mind.
  3. Be realistic. Do you need so much food?
  4. Use one dinner per week as a ‘Use it up’ meal.
  5. Got fresh fruit and veg that you can’t use in time? Why not freeze them? Stew or puree your fruit and vegetables and store them in the freezer for smoothies or pasta sauces.
  6. Freeze leftover meals.
  7. Freeze dairy products. Semi-skimmed and skimmed milk can be frozen; so can hard cheese.
  8. Loaves of bread can be frozen.
  9. Stale bread can be made into breadcrumbs or rolls can be popped in the oven to be crusty again.

Donating left over food

No matter our good intentions, we can all be left with leftover food. So, let’s take a look at how we can use it to help someone else:

The Selby and District Food Bank at 30 New Lane in Selby, is run by the Trussell Trust and provides emergency food for people in crisis. They welcome donations of dried food, such as teabags, dried pasta or tinned goods. They also provide toilet rolls, sanitary napkins, nappies and toiletries to people in need – not food waste, admittedly, but would help another human being.

They can be contacted on:

07413 374750



Selby District Council (SDC)

It’s down to the SDC’s year long initiative encouraging us all to ‘Reduce. Reuse. Respect’ that drove Sam Horsey to start her family on the ‘One bag of rubbish for two weeks’ challenge.

Since starting, Sam has tried to reduce her family’s household waste even more, “It’s quite easy, as long as we recycle as much as possible, and think carefully before we buy food”.

Selby residents can order new recycle bins from the Council by going to this web page, or phoning 01757 705101.

650 word article written for the Selby Times at the request of Selby District Council