Bristol Food Network participated in this trans-disciplinary, real world impact-focused research group with Wessex Water/GENeco and the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

A known challenge for the Bristol city-region (and cities globally) relates to the correct valuation of precious, undervalued resources including food, energy and water. Waste occurs across food, energy and water systems. At the interface of these systems, waste increases significantly the over-consumption of our limited resources. Resource scarcity is not only a matter of efficiency, but of access, distribution and equality. Understanding different pressures and opportunities in distinct urban contexts is important for identifying processes by which cities can identify, test and scale viable and feasible solutions that reduce the most pressing inefficiencies in each context.

The aim of the WASTE FEW ULL project was to develop and test internationally applicable methods of identifying inefficiencies in a city-region’s food-energy-water nexus – watch this short film by Coventry University that explains more. This was undertaken through an international network of industry/civic society-led Urban Living Labs (ULL) in four urban regions – UK (Bristol), Netherlands (Rotterdam), South Africa (Cape Town) and Brazil (São Paulo). Partners in Norway and the USA provided economic valuations of potential impact, and impact-led public education, outreach and dissemination.

The project linked stakeholders to minimise linear and wasted flows of food, energy and (nutrients in) water using market and non-market micro and macro economic valuation, systems modelling and targeted impact planning to disrupt business as usual.

Wessex Water manages Bristol’s sewage treatment (supplying water to 1.3 million people across the region) from their HQ south of Bath, their subsidiary GENeco operates a range of initiatives in waste recovery in Bristol’s river mouth, Avonmouth e.g. biomethane, domestic food waste, compost and partial nutrient recapture.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy’s mission is to share knowledge and practical experience to empower people to change the way they think and act about energy. It does this by giving advice, managing innovative energy projects, training and supporting others to act, and undertaking research and policy analysis.

The Bristol Urban Living Lab was led by Daniel Black + Associates (db+a) working alongside The Schumacher Institute with specialist research expertise provided by the Universities of Coventry, Reading and Bath. ​