Hertfordshire residents are being encouraged to reduce food waste with a new county council initiative dubbed #worthsaving.

Recent research has revealed that around 40,000 tonnes of edible food is thrown away in Hertfordshire each year, which is equal to 66 million meals.

By reducing unnecessary food waste, Hertfordshire households could be saving up to £720 per year and could be reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent.

The study has shown that between 45 per cent and 65 per cent of the food that we throw away could have been eaten.

Disposing of edible food has a significant environmental impact, as the resources and carbon footprint used to grow and transport the food are also wasted.

The campaign encourages practising a four-step mantra of ‘plan, shop, store, eat’ to minimise food wastage. The campaign’s pilot will now be introduced across the county.

Cllr Eric Buckmaster, executive member for the environment at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "At a time when household budgets are being stretched by the rising cost of living, including an increase in the price of food, it’s more important than ever to reduce the food we throw away.

“Reducing our food waste is a really simple, cost-saving way to live more sustainably.”

The Hertfordshire Waste Partnership has been working on the campaign for 18 months.

A six-month trial undertaken in Three Rivers revealed that residents were able to reduce their food waste by 15 per cent.

Three Rivers Cllr Phil Williams added: “We have set ourselves the ambitious target of reducing food waste by 20 per cent of 2020 levels by 2025”

“Simple changes to how we plan meals,” he explained, “can save our residents money and reduce our impact on the environment.”

The Partnership’s four-step plan highlights how making small changes to existing habits can make a real difference.

For more information and to view the four steps to save, visit the #WorthSaving webpage at www.wasteaware.org.uk/worthsaving