When looking at opportunities to improve waste reduction and recycling of household waste, food waste is often top of the list. Composition analysis of a small area of Essex (250 residents) indicated that food waste made up around 25% of the general rubbish bin (2022).
As part of the BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy Project, the Circular Economy Team and the Research & Citizen Insight Team at Essex County Council worked together to explore people’s attitudes and behaviours around food waste, to help inform the design of future campaign activity and interventions aimed at reducing food waste across Essex.
An online research community was set up for 15 participants from across Essex to participate over a two-week period (9 – 22 May 2022). Participants shared insights in response to a range of activities including surveys, diary entries, photos/video uploads, and provided feedback to questions and concepts. Participants received £50 payments as a thank you for their time, with opportunities for bonus payments to encourage further participation.
The COM-B behaviour change framework was used to explore key drivers of food waste and barriers to reducing waste, and from this developed a number of recommendations aimed at promoting desired behaviours.
Insight from this piece of research is now supporting the development of a countywide campaign aimed at reducing avoidable food waste and improving uptake of food waste recycling by householders at the kerbside.
Find out more by downloading a copy of the Essex County Council Food Waste Research.