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8th Plate: The Food Waste Project

8th Plate is a project which aims to salvage 60 tonnes of festival food waste this summer, to make 143,000 ready meals for vulnerable people in society.

Thousands of tonnes of perfectly good food is sent to landfill each year after going unsold at festivals and outdoor events. The number of unknown variables at live events means that large amounts of perfectly good food often goes unsold.

A proportion of the food left over can't be kept until the next event for food safety reasons, so it ends up going to landfill. The solution? Bring food off site so that it can be eaten before it becomes unsafe.

The Vulnerable in Society

It's estimated that more than 4 million people in the UK can't afford a healthy diet. Among them are the most vulnerable in our society; the young, the elderly, homeless people and those living with chronic health concerns. Hunger-fighting charity FareShare specialise in collecting and distributing usable waste food to partner organisations, like charities who provide food banks and soup kitchens.

NCASS has recently partnered with FareShare South West and A Greener Festival to reduce the amount of food waste at festivals and events and develop systems to salvage food before it goes off.

The Food Waste Project Partnership

We're calling it 8th Plate because 1 person in 8 globally goes hungry. Any waste food collected through the project will be turned into ready meals for distribution to food banks and soup kitchens in the South West.

Over the 2015 summer festival season, 8th Plate will set out to salvage 60 tonnes of food, to distribute around 143,000 meals and to save 270 tonnes of CO2 from the environment.

The Trial Run

A trial run took place during the 2014 summer season with great results. FareShare engaged with more than 100 traders at three different festivals. They collected over 10 tonnes of good quality food that would have gone to waste had they not offered to redistribute it.

Two tonnes of food waste were redistributed from 64 traders at WOMAD Festival to shelters and centres in the South West.

The project provided 4,762 meals for vulnerable people at Windsor Hall Wood in Shepton Mallet, Elim Connect Centre in Wells and the YMCA in Burnham-on-Sea.

Each part of the initiative with our partners FareShare South West and A Greener Festival is a step towards improving sustainability at festivals and reducing unnecessary waste and costs while supporting vulnerable individuals.

Sustainability = Necessity

NCASS Director Mark Laurie says, “The amount of food wasted at festivals can be quite high so the ultimate aim is to manage stock as effectively as possible to minimise waste. Where inefficiencies occur we should be looking to help the people that need it most.

"It’s a great cause that we are supporting and we hope that the scheme can be rolled out across all festivals in the future. With the ever increasing costs of produce and fuel, sustainability is becoming a necessity for catering businesses rather than a luxury. Sometimes food waste cannot be helped which is exactly why this scheme has been set up.

"NCASS will continue to support the food waste redistribution project because sustainability at events is a big part of our mantra, and helping those in need is something that we feel very strongly about.”

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