While giant bananas abseiled from the rainforest canopies of the Eden Project, members of the public were invited to don banana suits for photos and learn how UK households produce 7.3 million tonnes of food waste every year, including 240,000 tonnes of banana skins.
According to the recycling campaign, Recycling Now, around 1.9 million tonnes of household food waste ends up in landfill in the UK.
The Eden Project has teamed up with Recycle Now to highlight the issue. It is calculated that around 744,000 banana peels would need to be recycled to power the attraction for a day.
Currently, two thirds of Eden’s food waste is composted on site and used to fertilise its plants, while the remaining amount is sent to Devon where it is turned into energy.
Andigestion, Devon’s food waste recycler, collects one third of Eden’s food waste and processes it at its anaerobic digestion plant in Holsworthy.
This plant currently recycles approximately 70,000 tonnes of Devon’s residential and commercial food waste to produce electricity which is fed back into the national grid.
Amelie Trolle, sustainability manager at the Eden Project, said: “We’re passionate about recycling at the Eden Project and it’s great to see that so much of the south west are recycling food waste. We very much look forward to the day when Cornwall will join the rest of the south west, allowing households, businesses and organisations to turn food waste into energy through anaerobic digestion. Imagine all of the south west’s buses running on biogas derived from local food waste and agricultural waste; that would reduce our carbon footprint considerably.”
"Across the wider south west almost 90,000 tonnes of food waste is recycled annually by either anaerobic digestion to produce energy or by in-vessel composting where compost is made that can be used on local parks, farms and gardens. In those areas where collection of food waste is available, the up-take could be better," explained Linda Crichton from Recycle Now before adding: "When we ask people with a service why they don't recycle their food waste, they tell us it's because they don't think they produce enough to bother.In fact - we all create a certain amount of food waste which cannot be eaten, no matter how conscientious we are in avoiding wasting our food. Items, like tea bags, egg shells, potato peels and of course, banana skins are not edible but can all be recycled. This is why we are drawing people's attention to these wastes.”
Venues around the UK are taking part in Recycle Now’s campaign – including Living Coasts, Caernarfon Castle, Blenheim Palace and Lee Valley’s Olympic canoe course.