Make your fridge a friend to help reduce food waste.

Rebecca Wilson, passionate about recycling across South Yorkshire
Rebecca Wilson
26 Jul 2023

Rising prices mean we are all looking at different ways to reduce bills and your fridge could be a real friend in the search to save money. Food waste experts estimate we throw away around 800,000 tonnes of perishable food every year because it was not used in time.

Photo of inside of a fridge

But most of that food such as raw meat, dairy products, fruit, and vegetables could have been eaten if it had been refrigerated correctly to consume later rather than being allowed to spoil or pass its ‘use by date.’


Here are some handy tips for getting the most out of your fridge:

  • Make sure your fridge is operating at between 0-5 degrees Celsius. Many people do not have their fridge at a low enough temperature. The correct temperature can mean food lasts for up to three days longer.
  • Do not overfill your fridge. Leaving space allows air to circulate and maintains the set temperature.
  • If your fridge is looking full, take out items that do not need to be chilled, such as unopened soft drinks or bread. This will make room for the items that do need to be chilled for safety reasons, such as raw, ready-to-eat and cooked food.
  • Different parts of your refrigerator will operate at different temperatures. Generally, it is best to keep fruits and veg in the salad crisper drawer right at the bottom. Meats, poultry, and fish should be covered and put on the bottom shelf. Ready to eat foods can be put on the middle and top shelf.
  • Cool cooked food at room temperature and place in the fridge within one to two hours. Not only will this help to prevent your fridge heating up, but it will also stop the growth of bacteria on your food.
  • Potatoes should be stored in the fridge. While the old guidance was to store them in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a cupboard, it is now recommended they should be kept in the fridge at below 5 degrees Celsius.
  • Do not forget the freezer! We all know that meat, pizza, and ice cream can be frozen, but there may be a few foods that may surprise you. Eggs, milk, bread, cheese – in fact, almost anything can be frozen!

Abi Reid said: “In the current cost of living crisis everyone is looking for ways to reduce household bills.

“Wasting food comes at a cost to everyone. It costs residents, who are buying food that's not eaten and councils, who dispose of the food in refuse facilities.

“We have known for some time that wasted food makes up almost 40% of the general waste in bins across South Yorkshire and that more than half of this food has been thrown away because it hasn’t been used up in time.  Following a survey of homes across the area we now have a better understanding about the types of food items that are being wasted and have run some trials to help residents store fruit, vegetables and salad items so that they stay fresher for longer. 

“Getting the best out of the food we buy is great for our wallets and reduces the carbon emissions related to the growing, processing, transporting, storing and disposal of food waste.”



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