Most people often fail to realise how much food they throw away, whether it’s extra mashed potatoes, pasta, a mouldy slice of bread or milk that just doesn’t appeal. Even though it happens to everyone, very few people are willing to recognize the fault in their actions. Despite this, we can implement small changes that make a huge impact in the amount of food thrown away each year. Have a look through our list of tips on how to waste less food and drink. Little changes go a long way in helping us and the environment.
1. Plan your meals in order to save money and time. In doing this, you will be less likely to buy things you do not need.
- Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and base your shopping list on the ingredients required for these meals.
- Look into your cupboards and refrigerators first to avoid buying food you already have.
- Plan your meals around ingredients you already have.
2. Practice the FIFO (First in, First out) kitchen rule.
- Check expiry dates often and move older food products to the front of your fridge, cupboard or storage space to help you remember to use them, to prevent food from going out of date.
- Be sure to take note of the fact that a ‘use by’ date marks how long a food item is safe to eat, whiles a ‘best before’ date means the quality of the produce lessens but it is still safe to eat.
- You can find out more about how best to store your food with the Love food, Hate Waste‘s Food Storage A–Z.
3. Take note of portion sizes. Cook only as much food as you will actually consume.
4. Monitor the temperature in your refrigerator. Set the temperature below 4 degrees Celsius to prolong life of foods.
5. Preserve produce correctly.
- Don’t discard produce just because it’s reaching the end of its peak.
- Freeze, preserve or can surplus fruits and vegetables.
- Soft fruits can be used to prepare smoothies whilst wilting vegetables can be used in soups or juices.
- Fresh foods must be stored differently–at the right temperature and with the most appropriate type of wrapping to keep it fresh.
- Find out how to store fruits and vegetables so they remain fresh for longer at Food Savvy.
6. Donate the foods you would not use.
Never going to use that can of tomato sauce? Rather than chucking it into a bin, why don’t you donate it to a food bank before it expires so it can be consumed by someone who really needs it? Use The Trussell Trust‘s resource to locate a food bank near you.
7. Compost food scraps to reduce the amount of organic waste going to the landfill.
Chuck your potato skins, wilted vegetables, banana peels, tea bags, eggs shells, apple cores and other organic waste into a compost bin and convert them into useful resource for your garden (either personal or community gardens).
8. Be creative with leftovers!
Most households throw away food because they have cooked too much. The simplest way is to package your leftover for lunch. If you do not want to eat it immediately, freeze it to save for later. Using leftovers to prepare meals is a smart way to ensure that no food goes to waste.