By Maximilian Clarke

Enough food to fill 11,720 double decker buses or the Albert Hall 15 times over is chucked away every year in London.

Today (Friday), London’s Mayor Boris Johnson urged businesses and the public to sign up to a pledge to reduce the mountains of food needlessly thrown away and sent to landfill, helping to make the capital a cleaner and greener city.

"Throwing away mountains of perfectly edible food is crazy at a time when all Londoners are feeling the pinch,” said Mayor Boris. “I want to do all I can to help people to cut waste, save cash by doing so and improve our great city. This is why I am determined to cut the amount of food needlessly sent to landfill.”

Launching the pledge at the Feeding the 5,000 event in Trafalgar Square, the Mayor called on businesses to follow a simple ’Food Waste Pyramid’ guide to minimise how much edible food is wasted - firstly, by avoiding buying surplus food, and secondly by redistributing any unwanted food to charities such as FareShare and FoodCycle which then provide it to people in need. Thirdly, food unfit for human consumption should be fed to livestock where possible and finally it should be disposed of through composting and processes such as Anaerobic Digestion, which use the food to create electricity. Businesses such as Waitrose, the New Covent Garden Market, Cafe Spice, Wahaca, Innocent Drinks and Abel and Cole have already signed up to the pledge.

The Mayor handed out the first plate of free curry - made from misshapen vegetables which fail to meet the cosmetic standards of supermarkets - at Feeding the 5000, which aims to highlight the vast quantities of perfectly edible food that gets wasted. It is estimated that the average family wastes £50 each month by throwing out unused but perfectly edible food. Feeding the 5,000 was organised by food waste expert Tristram Stuart with support from the Mayor, and run in partnership with Fareshare, FoodCycle, Love Food Hate Waste and Friends of the Earth.

Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board, added: "Changing the way we deal with food waste in London can have a real impact on the capital's environment, cutting emissions and reducing the amount of edible produce sent to landfill. The Mayor has set out ambitious targets to cut waste, and if we are to achieve them we need businesses and residents in the capital to sign up to this pledge and work together to stamp out avoidable food waste."

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