A conscientious independent retailer is challenging the supermarkets in his area to sign up to a new scheme which helps provide food for those in need and cuts the amount of waste headed for landfill.

Andrew Thornton, who owns two large Budgens stores in London's Belsize Park and Crouch End, is the driving force behind the new Food Cycle scheme, which uses groceries on the cusp of their sell-by dates to feed underprivileged youths in the local area.

Short-dated products otherwise destined for landfill sites are frozen and delivered once a week to youth clubs and soup kitchens around London.

"This project is a big deal," Andrew said. "Not only would it result in a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, but it would also help nourish undernourished kids.

"I want to get the area's other food retailers such as Tesco and M&S involved so we can boost the weekly bulk sent to these soup kitchens, and make the project even more worthwhile."

Andrew, who already disposes of his food waste in an environmentally sustainable way using anaerobic digestion, was recently crowned Sustainable Retailer of the Year at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management awards.

Andrew added: "My passion for food extends to a real concern about where it comes from as well as the social and environmental impact that we have. That's why I will continue to strive to reduce our carbon footprint and make a positive social impact on the local community."

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