Food waste is a huge issue, with UK households wasting 4.5 million tonnes of food each year. And many of the foods we throw out are perfectly edible. Often this food ends up rotting away in landfills, which produces the greenhouse gas methane. So if you want to live more sustainably and reduce your impact on the environment, reducing your food waste is important. So here are some easy ways on how to reduce your food waste at home!
1. Shop little and often
If possible, you should try to go food shopping every few days rather than once a week. This isn’t the most convenient for some, but this has been shown to reduce food waste as you won’t be buying a weeks worth of food at a time. Buying smaller amounts of food more frequently allows you to keep a better track of what you are using and what you need, leading to less wastage.
2. Check your fridge and make a list
There have probably been times that you have purchased something at the supermarket, just to later realise you already have some at home. To prevent this, you should remember to look in your fridge before you go food shopping to check what you already have. You should then write out a shopping list of the things that you need. This will help prevent you from over buying, meaning less food wastage.
3. Plan your meals
Planning your meals is another easy way to reduce food waste. If you know what you will be eating in advance, you can cater your shopping list to this instead of buying random food that you may not use. This will save you money too as you’ll only be buying what you need. You should also consider the portion sizes that you need for your family.
4. Check the dates
Check the dates on your food before you throw them out. Many people will throw out perfectly good food out of fear that it is “off” and will cause food poisoning. But there is a difference between the “use by” and “best before” dates. You should adhere to the use by date for safety reasons, but the best before date is simply a guideline of when the food is best to eat. So before throwing out food because it is past its best before date, examine it as it may still be perfectly fine to eat. Looking at and smelling the food should give you a good indication of whether it’s good to eat or not.
5. Keep your fridge and cupboards organised
How many times have you thrown out food that you found at the back of your fridge or cupboard? It is easy for us to simply forget about food that we have if our fridges or cupboards are cluttered and disorganised. Start by finding an organisation system that works best for you. You could group your foods by type, or have separate sections for each person in your household. You can also go through your fridge and cupboards and place the items with the closest expiration dates at the front, like they do in supermarkets. This should minimise the amount of food that goes “off” before it is eaten.
6. Get composting
Obviously there’s some things that you don’t want to eat, such as vegetable peelings and fruit cores. But thankfully these can be composted. Composting is a great way to reduce your food waste and prevent food from ending up in landfill. Plus compost makes your soil and plants healthier, so its a win-win! This Ward Ecomax Composter is a good option which holds 220L and is made of recycled materials.
7. Store your food correctly
You should also ensure that you are storing your food correctly so that it lasts longer and doesn’t go bad. Remember that many food items can be preserved in the freezer, including things like fruit, vegetables, meat and bread. And if you have fruits that are about to go off, you can always freeze them and add them to a smoothie! You also should store things like grains and cereals in air-tight containers to preserve their freshness.
8. Learn how to use your leftovers
If you find that there are leftovers after you have finished dinner, don’t toss them! Leftovers can be repurposed in many different ways so that you can eat them for breakfast or lunch the following day! You can be creative and use them however you like. Or you can do something simple, like using leftover meat in a salad bowl. You should store your leftovers in airtight containers so that they stay fresh. And remember to date them so you know when you made them!
9. Keep track of what you’re throwing away
Keeping track of what ends up in the bin is another way to reduce food waste. Every time you throw food away, you should note this down. Record exactly what foods you are throwing away and how much of it. This will help you to identify what foods you may need to cut back on purchasing. For example, if you find that you are throwing away bananas every week you may want to start buying less of these. Or start making some banana smoothies!
10. Give away excess food
If you know that you have bought too much, or have food that is close to its use by date, there are many initiatives and food banks to donate to. There are also local apps where you can post any extra food that you are giving away, and people can come and collect it from you. This way your food isn’t going to landfill, and may be helping someone in need.
We hope that you have found this blog helpful and have found some practical ways to reduce your food waste! You can check out our other blog post here where we discuss simple ways that you can save water at home.