How To Cut Down on Food Waste
How To Cut Down on Food Waste
Food waste is a growing problem, and not just because of the economic impact on our weekly household budgets from throwing away food that we’ve bought.
Mountains of rotting food sent to landfill also causes problems for the planet as it releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Methane is about 25 times more dangerous at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, another harmful greenhouse gas. Both are responsible for climate change, and therefore reducing emissions is essential.
Throwing away perfectly edible food is also problematic when we think of the millions of children and families in the UK who can’t afford or who don’t have access to enough food. Especially healthy fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs and bread – foods that are commonly thrown away.
So here’s our top tips on reducing the food wasted in your household:
- Plan your meals for the week ahead and write down all of your meals and snacks. That way, you’ll only shop for what you need and you won’t end up with random ingredients that you can’t make anything with.
- Take a “shelfie”, a picture of your food cupboard shelves and the inside of your fridge, before you go food shopping or doing an online shop. This will remind you what you need, so that you don't over buy.
- Avoid the temptation of BOGOF deals at the supermarket. If you know your family can’t possibly make its way through two huge blocks of cheese or other foods with a short shelf life (or you don’t want them to), then the deal really is too good to be true! Walk away and save inevitable food waste.
- If you subscribe to a veg box scheme and you get a vegetable that you’re not sure what to do with, often the company website will be full of seasonal recipe ideas. Rather than keeping a butternut squash or a fennel in the fridge until it goes rotten, be brave and experiment! (By the way, our Stuffed Butternut Squash and Braised Fennel and Parmesan Bake recipes are amazing...)
- Try not to overfill your plate and that of your family, especially if you have fussy eaters in your midst. (Fussy kids may even be tempted to eat more if they can serve themselves from a communal bowl in the middle of the table.) Some food scraps on our plates are inevitable, but untouched leftovers can be used for lunch the following day, or to create easy evening meals later in the week.
- Make your freezer your best friend. Most foods can be safely frozen, so if you have a surplus, try making up batches of food, and freezing them. Take batches out of the freezer the night before and leave them in the fridge to defrost before heating through thoroughly. Hey presto, healthy, home cooked food in a flash!
- If you do have edible food that you think might go to waste, and it’s unopened, consider using a community based food sharing app such as OLIO. The idea is that you list your food, and anyone local who might like it, can arrange to collect it from you via the app. No money changes hands, but your surplus food could feed a local family in need.
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