The statistics are eye opening. Thirty percent of global greenhouse gases come from producing our food. If food waste were a country, it would have the third-biggest carbon footprint after the USA and China. Wasted food accounts for more global greenhouse gas emissions than flying. If we all stopped wasting bread at home in the UK for a year, it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 5.3 million trees. We could continue, but you get the message...
Luckily, there are simple steps that we can all take to stop food going in the bin. Here are 10 things to try:
- It’s a date! ‘Use by’ is about safety – food should not be eaten after this date (even if it looks/smells fine). ‘Best before’ is about quality – although food won’t be at top quality after this date, it will still be safe to eat for some time.
- Compleat. Always binning crusts and broccoli stems? Over two-thirds of the food we waste is perfectly edible, so using every edible bit of your food (‘compleating’) is essential. Try leaving the skin on when you make mashed potato – this will save you time as well!
- Chill the fridge out. The average fridge temperature in UK homes is nearly 7°C, but foods will last longer if they are kept at under 5°C.
- Perfect portions. Hands up who has ever found themselves with far too much rice or pasta? It’s easy to do, but there are simple ways to cook the perfect amount. For example, a mug filled with dry rice will cook enough for four adults.
- Snap a shelfie. If you’re not a fan of shopping lists, take a picture of your fridge/cupboard shelves before you head to the shops instead. This will stop you from buying something you’ve already got at home.
- Savvy storage. Most fruit and veg will stay fresher for longer in the fridge. The key exceptions are bananas and pineapple (keep these on the counter), and onions and potatoes (which should be kept in a cool, dark, dry place – like a cupboard!). Not sure where something should be stored? Try this fantastic Food Storage A–Z from Love Food Hate Waste!
- Freeze up to the ‘use by’ date. All foods with a ‘use by’ date including meat, can be frozen right up to this date. This is especially helpful if your plans change at the last minute – before you order an emergency takeaway, check your fridge for anything that can be frozen for another day.
- Ice-cube tray – the freezer hero. Too much milk, not enough time? Pour your remaining milk into ice-cube trays and freeze – this is the perfect amount for a brew. You can use ice-cube trays to freeze fresh herbs, too. Chop them up, pop them in the tray, and top up with oil and then you have easy portions to add to the pan next time you’re cooking.
- Use your loaf. Bread is another food that freezes beautifully. Put your sliced loaf in the freezer, and then you can pick out a slice at a time and toast straight from frozen. Extra tip: tap the loaf on the counter before you freeze it to stop the slices sticking together.
- Unidentified Frozen Objects. Before you freeze your leftovers, label the bag/container telling you what’s inside and when you froze it.
All of these tips are small, but can add up to make a big difference. If you need cooking inspiration, why not try this delicious Spanish Omelette recipe that uses up any leftover potatoes or slightly sad veggies. Search our recipes for any other ingredients that you already have in your fridge and see what you can come up with. Don't forget that you can always make small tweaks and changes to makes the recipe fit your needs!