Food waste is costing us billions – over £17 billion a year, in fact! This report from WRAP found that in the UK, we throw away 10 million tonnes of food. A whopping 70% of this comes from households, with 7.3 million tonnes wasted in 2016, a value of £13 billion. Of this, 4.4 million tonnes was avoidable, with a further 1.3 million tonnes stated to be ‘possibly avoidable.’
We’re a wasteful nation. We throw away 13lb of food weekly, and £500 of food is thrown away annually, per household – the most of any country in Europe. Food waste not only has financial implications, but environmental ones too. Over 3.5 million tonnes of food was disposed of in a sewer or landfill.
While food waste may not be top of your priorities – it really is an issue we need to tackle. We reached out to some food bloggers for some handy tips on how to reduce food waste at home, and stop throwing money away!
Kathlena from the Allergy Chef suggested:
DO Plan your Meals
Planning all your meals for the week, including lunches, makes grocery shopping a breeze. It will be easier to make a list, and stick to it. By having all of your meals planned, you won’t fall into the trap of buying extra items at the store that aren’t necessary.
DON’T Throw Away the Trimmings
If you eat a lot of veggies and find that you have ends and trimmings, bag them up and make a flavourful stock at the end of the week. Alternatively, if you have a garden or allotment you can create your own compost!
DO Freeze Leftovers
If you find that you have copious amounts of leftovers, and haven’t planned for it with you meal plan, freeze the leftovers. Alternatively, if it’s a meal that can’t be frozen, plan to freeze something else within the week. Don’t have freezer space? Consider sharing with your neighbour, or someone at work.
Judy Barbe, registered dietitian and blogger at www.LiveBest.info shared her tips:
DON’T Impulse Buy
Make smart shopping lists, starting in your kitchen. Think ‘What do I have?’ rather than ‘What do I want?’
DO Cook Perishable Food First
The sooner you get to them, the easier it is to serve as snacks and meals through the week, saving time, effort, and money.
DO Label Food
Keep track of contents and dates of leftovers in the fridge, freezer or cupboard. This will take the guesswork out of clear-outs.
Markus Mueller from www.earthfoodandfire.com added:
DO Use Fresh Herbs ASAP
Herbs have a fairly short shelf life and quickly wilt in the refrigerator. Use fresh herbs as quickly as possible, otherwise preserve and store them for later use with various techniques such as making flavored oils, making herb cubes, and drying/crushing the herbs for use in spice mixes.
DO Grow your Own
Growing your own vegetables is the best way to ensure your produce is fresh and you can pick it right when you need it! You don’t even need a garden – lettuce and herbs are easily grown in pots!
DO Buy Frozen
Buying frozen vegetables is a great way to avoid wasting produce that would otherwise have a shorter shelf life at fridge temperatures.
We here at The Hip Horticulturist added our own tips:
DON’T Throw Out Food Automatically
Best Before dates are more of a guideline than a rule. Use your common sense, and your other senses too! Does it look okay? Smell okay? Taste okay? It’s probably okay! Best Before dates refer to quality rather than safety, so you won’t get ill if you continue to eat the food once the date passes. Be strict with Use By dates, especially with meat, seafood, and dairy.
DO Embrace the Wonky
Supermarkets are now selling their wonky fruit and vegetables, preventing unnecessary waste and also making produce cheaper. Sure, that bent carrot or lopsided mushroom won’t win any beauty prizes, but they’ll still taste great in any recipe!
DO Be Fridge Smart
Make sure you place new food at the back of the fridge, so you get to older food first rather than throwing it away. Also, how you organise your fridge can affect the longevity of the food you keep there. Check out our handy guide below to help your food last longer!
Door Shelves – the warmest part of the fridge. Don’t be tempted to put milk here! Condiments with natural preservatives such as mayonnaise or jam are best here. Juice can be stored here, too.
Upper Shelves – the best place for leftovers, cooked meat and ready-to-eat prepared foods. Make sure you bring older food to the front so it can be eaten first.
Middle Shelves – this is dairy’s place to shine. Keep cheese in its original packaging, if possible, to help it last longer.
Bottom Shelves – the coldest place of the fridge should be reserved for raw meat and seafood. Keep uncooked meat and fish away from any cooked food to prevent cross-contamination.
Drawers – these drawers help fresh produce to retain moisture. Storing leafy greens with some kitchen roll will make them stay fresher for longer.
Don’t refrigerate potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, bananas, bread, honey or unripe stone fruits such as peaches, plums, cherries and avocados.
Don’t store bananas in the fruit bowl – the other fruit will ripen much faster. Wrap the stems in Cling-film to prevent early ripening. Need an avocado to ripen quicker? Store it in a cool, dark place with a banana.
Don’t store onions and potatoes together – they’ll deteriorate faster.
How do you prevent food waste? Let us know in the comments! We hope you’ll start saving food and saving money too.