STAFF at the Oxford Food Bank have launched this year’s Christmas appeal to encourage local businesses to throw away less of their unwanted food.

This year they will be working with recycling company Grundon Waste Management to help raise more than £60,000 to help fund the charity’s running costs for the next year.

The charity, which relies entirely on donations from businesses and individuals, is hoping to expand further and spend money on new vans and equipment to transport food around the city to those in need.

David Kay, from the food bank, said: “One of our main aims is to reduce food waste, and we are a growing charity.

“We are running about 30 per cent more than last year in terms of the food we collect.

“We have had more charities, and we have seen the volume of food we collect quickly increase especially in the past few weeks.”

As part of the Festive Food Share campaign, which finishes at the end of December, Grundon will also donate £25 to the food bank for every new customer it signs up to its dedicated food waste collection service.

For every £1 donated, the food bank can provide about £20 worth of fruit, vegetable, bread and dairy products to about 60 charities in Oxford, Didcot and Abingdon.

Mr Kay said: “We are as much about reducing food waste as we are about feeding vulnerable peopl and reducing food poverty, so we have similar aims.

“It costs us thousands of pounds every year to run the charity, and having Grundon’s support will be very useful indeed and make a big difference to our day-to-day activities.

“The company will provide a nice eco-friendly way of using the food as well.”

The food waste that is collected by Grundon is used to generate renewable electricity and make bio-fertiliser.

And the food bank, based in North Hinksey Lane, is hoping the businesses will also donate some of the food to add to the £1m worth of produce it gave to support charities last year.

Grundon deputy chairman Neil Grundon said: “We’re calling on Oxfordshire’s hospitality, business and retail sectors to become smarter about the way they deal with food and stop thinking of it as a disposable commodity.”