"We’ve spoken about Ways to Reduce Waste as a Family so now it’s time to look at ways to prevent food waste. Globally, we waste an absolutely staggering amount of food – around a third of all food grown, to be precise, with 7 million tonnes of food waste happening in our own homes. When food insecurity is such a huge problem – 1 in 5 people in the UK today are struggling to put food on the table and growth and production of food is so costly to the environment and to our economy. It’s time for us all to step up to the plate and do our bit. Here’s how you can make a difference."
It’s important to really understand how best to store foods. All fruit, except bananas and pineapple – belongs in the fridge (despite how pretty it looks in a giant fruit bowl.) Keep potatoes and onions separately to keep them fresh for longer and keep bread and potatoes out of the fridge, in a dark place.
Shopping minimally and frequently is a great way to avoid buying too much and creating food waste in the process. Combine that with some gentle meal planning, and you’re guaranteed to keep your tummies full, and bins empty. Oh, don’t forget to carry a canvas bag with you just in case you pass a shop and want to grab something for dinner that night!
The average fridge in the UK is set to around 7 degrees, which is too high for most foods and can cause them to go off. Every day we throw away 3.1 million glasses of milk so keep your fridge between 0 – 5 degrees to help milk last 2-3 days longer. Get a fridge thermometer to ensure the temperature of your fridge is correct (the fridge dials don’t always show the correct temperature.)
What we mean by this is take advantage of the entire food item you’re eating and avoid unnecessary food waste – the part we get rid of, for example, the peel, is also often the most nutritious part! Keep the tops of carrots to grind up to make delicious carrot pesto or try eating potatoes with the peel on, or if you do peel them, keep the peels, mix with oil and seasoning, and then bake for 20-25 minutes to make delicious homemade crisps.
There is a difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’. The former refers to quality, whilst the latter is regarding safety. Food can be eaten until the ‘use by’ date but not after. Don’t get too hung up on ‘best before’ dates – remember, it’s still ‘good’ after that date and crucially, the food will be totally safe to eat.
A great way to prevent food waste is to freeze the food we haven’t quite got around to eating. We all know the basics that can be frozen but did you know that pasta, cheese, and eggs can all be frozen? In fact, almost anything can be frozen. Just don’t let things fester in there for too long.
There are more and more food waste apps nowadays that really help curb food waste. Use Olio to give away excess food to your neighbours and rescue food at the end of the day from local restaurants using Too Good To Go.
As you can see, a great place to start preventing food waste is right here, in our homes. All the above tips are examples of simple things we can all do to make a difference, benefit the environment and help our wallet.