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Use it or lose it! Romford environmentalists save food from the landfill

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 December 2019

Romford's Best Before stall collects surplus food to stop it going to the landfill. Picture: Claire Savill

Romford's Best Before stall collects surplus food to stop it going to the landfill. Picture: Claire Savill

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A Romford environmentalist stops food from going to the landfill with a 'Best Before Stall' every week.

The stall is every Wednesday at 6.30pm. Picture: Claire SavillThe stall is every Wednesday at 6.30pm. Picture: Claire Savill

Claire Savill, 38, of Romford, collects food from local supermarkets by their 'Best By' date and offers it up at St Johns Hall, Pretoria Road, Wednesdays at 6.30pm.

The food is free but they encourage people to donate whatever money they can, which is then distributed to local charities.

Romford's Best Before stall collects surplus food to stop it going to the landfill. Picture: Claire SavillRomford's Best Before stall collects surplus food to stop it going to the landfill. Picture: Claire Savill

Claire said: "A lot of the food is just in damaged packaging and is perfectly fine and all of that would end up in bins otherwise."

She started the stall in October to try to reduce waste, particularly as she said there aren't many environmental projects in Romford compared to other parts of London.

The stall is in St Johns Hall, Patoria Road. Picture: Claire SavillThe stall is in St Johns Hall, Patoria Road. Picture: Claire Savill

She said: "Most of the people that come to our stall can't stand to see all that food go to waste."

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Every Wednesday she posts pictures on the Romford Best Before Facebook page of what will be on offer that day.

At the end of the day all of the leftover food is donated to homeless shelters.

Romford's Best Before stall collects surplus food to stop it going to the landfill. Picture: Claire SavillRomford's Best Before stall collects surplus food to stop it going to the landfill. Picture: Claire Savill

Along with her mum and sister, Claire collects food from Aldi, Lidl and Asda and will be getting food from Co-op starting in January.

Claire said it was a struggle at first to make arrangements with the supermarkets and asked if anyone has contacts with supermarket suppliers to please get in touch with her.

The first couple of weeks at the stall were quiet but by week three there was a queue of people by the time they set up.

They encourage people to share recipes on the Facebook page of what they've cooked using their finds.

Claire hopes more environmental projects will form in the area and contacted Havering Council to work with their Love Food Hate Waste campaign, which offers free training sessions and resources to help reduce food waste at home so you can save money and eat healthily. She said: "We're only there once a week but there's so much more that could be done."

For information on the Best Before Stall visit https://www.facebook.com/RomfordBB/ or for Love Food Hate Waste at https://www.havering.gov.uk/info/20003/rubbish_and_recycling/43/reducing_your_waste/9.

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