food

Reducing food waste at home

What Can I Do? Reducing food waste at home

Did you know that around 30% of our general waste is made up of food waste? Approximately 60% of this is avoidable and could have been eaten or drunk if used up in time – we could all save £720 a year by reducing our food waste. Check out our tips below to learn how to stop food waste.

Our top tips

Planning is the best way to save money on the weekly shop while cutting waste and helping the planet. 

 

There are three simple steps to follow:

  • Write a meal plan
  • Check what you have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards then write a shopping list
  • Only buy what you need - stick to the list!

The dates commonly found on packaging can cause some confusion.

 

There are three simple points to consider:

  • Best before dates are only a guide to when food is at its best
  • Use-by dates are a clear rule
  • Most foods can be frozen right upto their use-by date

The way we store food has the potential to extend its useable lifespan massively.

 

Three important things to keep in mind are:

  • Keep dried goods like pasta, cereal and crisps airtight to make them last longer
  • Freeze foods in handy portions - make sure you label them
  • Check storage instructions on food - lots of packaging is specially designed to make food last longer

Preparing or cooking the right amount of food is a great way to cut waste and can save a lot of money too.

 

Three important things to consider are:

  • Measure portions carefully and only cook what you need - this doesn't always mean getting the scales out
    • 1 mug dried rice = 4 adult portions
    • Spaghetti to cover 1p = 1 adult portion
    • 2 closed handfuls of pasta twirls = 1 adult portion
  • Store leftovers in the portions you are likely to want them - leftover curry for lunch? Box it up into individual portions
  • Freeze leftovers in the portions you'll want them and make sure they are clearly labelled

Leftovers are made up of fabulous food that you have bought and made into great meals so why wouldn't you use them up.

 

There are three ways to make your leftovers work for you:

  • Leftovers make great, tasty meals in a flash and are fabulous for an easy tea in a hurry
  • Store them in the right portions for you - it could be single portions for lunch or a bigger portion to get tea on the table for the whole family in a flash
  • Many commonly leftover foods can be used to easily make tasty new dishes, get creative in the kitchen and if you need a little inspiration just visit Love Food Hate Waste for some great recipe ideas

Did you know

By reducing food waste the average family could save over £700 a year

Commonly wasted foods

Bread is one of our most commonly wasted foods - the UK wastes around 1 million loaves of bread every day!

 

Our top tips to cut down on bread waste:

  • Freshen it up - pop stale bread in the microwave for 10 seconds or sprinkle with water and pop in the oven for a few minutes to freshen up
  • Freeze it while fresh - Bread can be frozen as a loaf or part loaf - tap it on the worktop before freezing to separate slices more easily when frozen
  • Prep like a boss - Make a whole load of sandwiches for the family in one go, freeze them in individual bags or containers then take them out in the morning ready for lunch - most fillings can be frozen apart from salad
  • Avoid the fridge - storing bread in the fridge can make it go stale faster
  • Don't lose your lid - Keeping the crust on top of the sliced bread in the bag slows down how quickly it goes stale
  • Make toast not waste - frozen bread makes great toast 

Salad, lettuce and leafy greens are some of our most commonly wasted foods - In the UK households spend over £400million a year on lettuce and leafy greens that get thrown away

 

Our top tips to cut down on salad waste:

  • Be a packaging pro - Check packaging for tips on how to best keep your salad, lettuce and leafy greens
  • Lock up your lettuce - Put lettuce and leafy greens in plastic box with a lid (or zipped sandwich bag) with a piece of kitchen paper - this works well for bagged salad too
  • Treasure your tomatoes - Tomatoes keep fresher for longer in their original packaging in the fridge or can be frozen and used in placed of chopped tomatoes
  • Cucumber keeps best when stood with the stalk end in small container of water in the fridge door - if not make sure you keep your cucumber in its plastic wrap - this will keep if fresher for upto an extra week
  • Radishes rock - Radishes keep fresh for weeks, just remove the leaves and roots and pop them in a jar of cold water in the fridge
  • Make salad like a master - use up all your leftover odds and ends like small amounts of cooked meats or fish, cheese, nuts, fruit or leftover pasta to make a fabulous salad

Milk is one of our most commonly wasted foods - UK households pour nearly £300 million of milk down the drain every year!

 

Our top tips to cut down on milk waste:

  • Fridge or freezer - Keep milk in the fridge in a sealed bottle to keep it fresher for longer, not going to use it in time? Semi-skimmed milk (fresh or UHT) can be frozen in full or part bottles or as ice cubes
  • Mix up a milkshake - if you have too much milk why not use it to make a milkshake with a little ice cream or blending it with fruit that needs using up too
  • Pancake time - use milk that needs using up to make a stack of pancakes to enjoy now or freeze and enjoy another day

Fruit and veg are some of our most commonly wasted foods - the average UK houshold wastes nearly £100 a year on fruit, veg and salad that isn't used up in time!

 

Our top tips to cut down on fruit and veg waste:

  • Fridge fantastic - most fruit and veg keeps better, for longer when stored in the fridge - except bananas, pineapples and potatoes - check the packaging for storage suggestions
  • Ditch the fruit bowl - If you prefer to eat fruit at room temperature just put 1 or 2 pieces in the fruit bowl and keep the rest in the fridge
  • Perfect peppers for longer - Once cut, peppers keep best with the seeds and stalk still attached and stored in a sealed tub or bag
  • Banish the bananas - Bananas release a gas that speeds up the rate that nearby food ripens so make sure they are stored apart from other fruit
  • Care for your carrots - Carrots keep best in the fridge in their original packaging but if they get a bit wobbly just trim the top and bottom and stand them in a glass of water for 30 minutes or so to firm up

Meat is one of our more commonly wasted foods - the average UK household waste over £60 a year on fresh meat and fish!

 

Our top tips to cut down on meat and fish waste:

  • Store it safely - Raw meat, poultry and fish should be stored at the bottom of the fridge in a clean, sealed container to stop it touching or dripping on other food
  • Know the limits - raw meat can be frozen, defrosted, cooked and refrozen but only once
  • Friendly with your freezer - Meat, poultry and fish can all be frozen but make sure to divide it into handy portions so you can just defrost what you need
  • Fabulous fish dishes - Most fish can be flaked into salads, rice or scrambled eggs to make a tasty treat
  • Stocks and soups - Use bones to make tasty stocks and soups by boiling the bones or carcass in water