At Touch our employees are integral to the success of everything we do. We are all passionate about the work we do and for many of us our passions extend beyond our day job. At Touch we want to support our team in everything they do and so it is my pleasure to present to you the first in a series of “Employee Spotlight” pieces – an opportunity for members of the Touch community to shout about what’s important to them!
Our first piece comes from Charis Coleman, a Project Manager from our touchIME division. As we look forward to the second UK Food Waste Action Week taking place 7-13 March 2022 she is here to tell us about why she feels passionately about the food waste movement.
I started volunteering during the pandemic in 2020, for a food waste charity ‘Surplus to Purpose’ in Leeds. Having been a recipient of their ‘magic boxes’ of surplus food during the first lockdown via the Too Good to Go App, I was interested in helping out in my free time at their national distribution centre, the Kindness Warehouse. This location redistributed the equivalent of 102 million meals in 2021, most of which would certainly have gone into landfill otherwise.
I was both amazed and horrified by the amount of perfectly good food which was intercepted and re-distributed on a daily basis. A lot was surplus short-date food left at smaller convenience shops at the end of the day, including vast amounts of baked goods. In addition, supermarket stock that couldn’t be moved to their shop in time to be sold, was brought directly to us. This food instead of going to waste was available to the public on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis in hubs across West Yorkshire, turned into meals for the SToP cafe, lots was delivered to local schools for the pupils and their families, or sold through the TGTG App. Anything not suitable for human consumption was taken to a local animal sanctuary or composted on-site.
Volunteering at the SToP warehouse made me realise that in addition to what is going on in shops, restaurants, and hotels, we also waste far too much food from our own homes. This can be due to confusion over ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates, not using all our vegetables/bread or planning meals. Certainly, we can all make small changes at home such as freezing what we won’t eat and educating ourselves about date labels. The amount of food we waste impacts our environment and really contributes to climate change. If food waste were a country, it would have the third biggest carbon footprint after the USA and China. Please take some time during Food Waste Action Week 2022 to discover what your business or household can do to help solve this systemic issue.
I’d urge anyone with spare time to consider getting involved in a similar local organisation. It will both open your eyes to what is happening at every supermarket large or tiny and you can really make a difference.