06 Sep 10 tips to reduce your food waste
It is common knowledge that food waste is an important environmental and social issue which needs to be addressed. The stats in the UK are mind boggling, with over 7 million tonnes of household food going to waste according to an in-depth report by Wrap. What we find most staggering about this amount of waste is that 70% of that household food waste is still edible when thrown away. This highlights a big issue with avoidable food waste.
Alongside household issues with waste, there are also the issues of food waste along the supply chain. These include the strict requirements for fruit and veg to look ‘pretty’, with supermarkets throwing away food they can’t sell.
But why does it really matter that there’s a lot of food waste? It really comes down to the efficiency of our food ecosystem. All the food we eat has a carbon footprint, be it the machinery to harvest the food, the transport, or the packaging.
It can feel difficult, if not overwhelming, to try to reduce food waste. So in this blog post, we share 10 tips to reduce your food waste at home. Simple steps towards tackling food waste and helping to create a more sustainable food system.
1. Create a food plan
Take stock of how much food you eat every week and plan accordingly. It doesn’t need to be too in-depth – simply put aside 5-10 minutes to plan out your meals. This way you have a clear idea of what you need to buy, which will help to minimise over-buying. We’ve all been there when we’ve gone into the supermarket to get just a few bits and pieces, only to end up leaving with half the shop!
2. Shop locally and more often
A great way of reducing food waste is carrying out smaller shops more often, rather than doing one big shop every week or two. This can still link well into a food plan and helps to ensure food that you buy is fresher and won’t end up going past its sell by date. It also makes it easier to buy food that you feel like eating on that particular day. Not only does tackling food waste have benefits for the environment, you’ll also be saving money and eating better as a result.
3. Buy wonky!
Alongside household waste, another key source of food waste is the strict restrictions on how fruit and vegetables look. Supermarkets want their produce to have a very consistent look. It’s understandable that they won’t sell produce which is badly bruised or damaged. But that being said, a lot of the time perfectly good fruit and veg is ditched just for being a little wonky.
On a quest to help solve this issue, Emilie Vanpoperinghe and Deepak Ravindra started Oddbox. Oddbox champions wonky veg through creating a weekly subscription box where you can get the latest seasonal vegetables direct to your door. One of the great benefits of their subscription boxes is that because the produce is seasonal and wonky, it is both sustainable and affordable.
4. Freeze your fruit and veg
Frozen fruit and veg tends to have plastic packaging. A good alternative is to buy local, package-free produce and freeze it. This is especially good for produce for food prep, such as berries for smoothies and tomatoes for sauces.
Use these silicone zip bags to keep your food fresh, whether it’s in the fridge or the freezer.
5. Lunch is the new dinner
If you’ve gone to the effort of making a nice dinner and you have some leftovers, try perking up your lunch the next day. You’ll be minimising food waste and it beats a meal deal!
6. Measure your portions
Have you ever tried to make pasta and ended up with so much cooked pasta you’d be ready for a marathon the next day? Measuring portions is an easy way to reduce food waste. If you don’t have time to food prep then try to be conscious of how much you’re putting in nonetheless.
7. Get creative
At the end of the week, the fridge may be looking empty. But that’s not to mean a decent meal can’t be salvaged. This is where a well stocked pantry with staples can really help to spice up, maybe quite literally, what you’ve got left to eat. Use up leftovers and keep things interesting at the same time.
8. Sharing is caring!
Instead of chucking away unwanted food, food sharing is becoming increasingly popular. In cities this can be difficult, which is where food apps like Olio can help by connecting you with local people who are giving away or looking for food.
9. Store properly
After a quick google you can find out which foods last longer when stored in certain places. For example, cereal will last much longer in a sealed container rather than leaving it in the open box.
These storage bottles with cork lids would be perfect for storing grains, nuts, coffee granules, and more. Or these silicone stretch lids are an ideal alternative to cling film, keeping food fresher for longer.
You don’t need to be green fingered or even have a garden to have a compost. This ceramic compost caddy would look perfect on any kitchen worktop. Plus, it features a filtered lid to reduce odours and can be used with or without a compostable liner.
At the end of the day, it’s near impossible to completely eliminate food waste. But fortunately composting is a great way of helping to ensure food waste is properly disposed of.
Armed with these simple tips, you’ll be able to successfully reduce your food waste at home. Simultaneously save the environment and save the pennies!