Zero Waste Stall
I’m Lucy Fay, one of the volunteers on Herefordshire Council’s 2020 Climate Challenge Team. I joined the team because I was interested to find out what measures the Council were considering in aiming to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and hoped that I might be able to take away some ideas to help in my own efforts to live more sustainably.
As part of our role on the Climate Challenge Team we were asked to try and reduce our personal carbon footprints by 20% in a year. Calculating our carbon footprints was a really helpful exercise to identify where our carbon emissions were being generated and I was surprised to discover how much food contributed to my carbon footprint, so I started shopping locally using markets and high-street businesses, and also going plastic-free where possible.
The Zero Waste Stall, coordinated through Ross Food Hub, aims to help reduce food waste within Ross on Wye, while providing food to those most in need and those who are conscious of their impact on the environment. Volunteers collect produce from local supermarkets which would otherwise end up in landfill. This is mainly fresh items (e.g. fruit, vegetables and bread) which are past their best but are still perfectly good to eat, or items in damaged packaging. The produce is then available to all members of the public for free via the Zero Waste Stall which is open 6 mornings a week. Soup (also free) made using vegetables from the Stall is also on offer and has been in high demand during the winter months!
In the first four months of opening, more than 2,000 visits to the Zero Waste Stall were recorded and more than 5 tonnes of food that would otherwise have gone to landfill were given away. Typically, less than 1% of the food collected from the supermarkets goes to waste and when it does, instead of landfill, it is composted at the Community Garden where the Zero Waste Stall is based.
I’m really proud to have supported the Zero Waste Stall since they first opened in November 2020 as both a visitor and a regular volunteer - they provide a really important service to the most vulnerable people in my community, allow those who are mindful of the current climate crisis the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of the food they eat and support local businesses in waste reduction.