Hubbub’s plastic free lunch campaign

UK employees spend £13.6bn on takeaway lunches and Hubbub has discovered that this habit is generating 10.7bn items of packaging waste much of which isn’t recycled or recyclable.

Working in partnership with Aviva, BT, AXA Insurance and the Environment Agency, and part of the #FoodSavvy campaign run in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk Councils, Hubbub has been investigating how these habits might be changed, cutting plastic use, with more healthy eating and saving money.

Hubbub recruited 50 employees from the four participating organisations inviting them to join a #FoodSavvy Lunch Club, challenging them to change their lunchtime eating habits for a month using a series of proven behaviour change techniques to encourage employees to make the change.

People are more likely to make a long-term change if they are part of a mutually supportive group, and the lunch club encouraged people to share ideas and experiences. Change is also more likely to occur if people can make easy alterations to daily habits. To help this happen Hubbub created a month-long meal plan. Three weeks of recipes were offered built around using leftovers and buying versatile ingredients. The fourth week was left empty so that participants could experiment with their new found knowledge and skills. To support the meal planning a FoodSavvy savings guide provided tips on reducing food waste and alternative options for single-use plastic was created.

Previous Hubbub research had shown that a lack of skills hinders from people changing eating habits preferring to stick to the tried and tested. To overcome this barrier lunchtime cooking demonstrations at the different workplaces were provided. These demonstrated how to cook one of the recipes from the meal plan and shared ideas for creating healthier, cheaper lunches with less packaging. Incentives to change were provided with local shops piloting a’ bring your own’ Tupperware scheme with discounts being offered for people who participated.

Results of this small-scale trial have proved highly encouraging. The majority of people wanted to participate because of a concern about plastic pollution followed by a desire to cut food waste. By the end of the month, participants had reduced their use of plastic and the amount of food waste by over a half.

Hubbub is now inviting other businesses and employees to take part. Business can register their interest via

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