According to research, up to 50% of food grown on the planet never reaches a human stomach. Supermarkets demand ‘perfect’ produce which means much of it gets rejected at source, manufacturers continue to use ‘Best before’ dates which confuse consumers and householders are buying and cooking too much food which ends up being wasted.
Many people think it’s ok to throw food in the landfill; it’s biodegradable so they believe it will break down without creating problems. The trouble is, it’s pretty airless in the bottom of a landfill site! In the absence of oxygen, biodegradable materials such as food decompose and produce methane gas, which contributes to global warming.
And while we’re wasting so much food, the World Health Organization tell us that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed while one-third is starving and every year 15 million children die of hunger.
Not only does it seem unfair to waste so much food while others starve, but with concerns about a future ‘food crisis’ and the harmful effects of throwing food in landfill sites, it makes sense for us to reduce food waste. Not only that, but you’ll save money – imagine knocking a third off your weekly food bill!
If you want to stop wasting food and start saving resources and money, here are some tips to reduce food waste:
Think about the meals your family enjoys most, make a menu plan for the week and write a list of the ingredients you need. Stick to your list when you shop!
Use up your leftovers
View today’s leftovers as tomorrow’s ingredients and base your meals around the things you already have at home. Soft vegetables can be made into soup or pasta sauces. Over ripe fruits can be made into pies or blended to make smoothies. Half a tin of tuna could be tonight’s pasta bake.
Don’t shop when hungry
If you shop when you’re hungry, you’ll be tempted to buy all sorts of things you don’t need!
Take an inventory
For one week write down everything you throw away. Look for patterns and see where you can reduce food waste.
Check your fridge
Check the seals are good and the temperature is set between 1 and 5 degrees. This ensures your fridge will keep your food fresh for as long as possible.
Instead of scraping food off plates into the bin, encourage your family to take small portion with the knowledge that they can come back for more. Any leftovers can be covered and stored in the ‘fridge and used the following day.
Sign up to Zero Waste Week
Zero Waste Week is a grassroots campaign raising awareness of the environmental impact of waste and empowering participants to reduce waste.
This year Zero Waste Week takes place 5-9th September with the theme of food waste. Why not sign up now and take the first steps towards reducing your food waste?
For more information, please visit www.zerowasteweek.co.uk