The average Brit generates almost 276 items of packaging waste a year by eating lunch on-the-go.
This is according to the charity Hubbub whose new campaign targets the 10.7 billion items of packaging waste annually generated by the UK’s lunch on-the-go habit.
The #FoodSavvy Lunch Club encourages people to rethink their lunch habits by providing tips on how to plan their lunch meals to save time, packaging and money.
The lunch club was trialled in March this year in East Anglia with businesses Aviva, AXA, Environment Agency and BT challenging a total of 50 employees to go for a month without using single-use packaging at lunch time.
Participants were given a #FoodSavvy Savings Guide, which provided them with a set of golden rules for reducing packaging and food waste. The rules included planning several lunches in advance of shopping for food and using leftover ingredients in another dish.
Of the employees taking part, 83% said the lunch club helped them reduce their single-use plastics, with participants on average reducing their usage by 54%. Food waste was reduced by approximately 52% per person and 67% said the trial had helped them to save money.
Hubbub is now encouraging other businesses and employees to take part in the lunch club. “Lunch-on-the-go items create huge levels of waste and unfortunately much of this isn’t recyclable as it’s made from mixed materials or isn’t recycled due to contamination from food residue,” said Trewin Restorick, CEO of Hubbub. “By planning lunches in advance and using up items in your fridge you can massively reduce the amount of packaging you use while saving money by cutting down on food waste – in the UK we could save £58m a day just by making our own lunches.”
Hubbub’s research of over 1,200 UK full and part-time workers revealed they use an average of four packaging items for each lunch purchase, with 76% picking up a main item such as a sandwich container, 70% a packet of snacks and 65% a napkin. Coupled with an increase in lunch on-the-go consumption this is leading to an overall increase in packaging waste.