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Tips to Reduce Your Food Waste

Globally we lose one third of all food produced due to food waste and 40% of our fruit and veg! UK households throw away around £500 pounds of food and 40kg of recyclable packaging on average, per year. Famine, plastic pollution and landfill overflow are real issues that are affecting our world yet so much food and plastic gets thrown away. Many people take the approach of thinking that their singular impact will be negligible, the reality is that if we all made a few small changes to our daily routine, we could be helping our planet in a big way. There is no need to lead a completely hippie lifestyle, but a few easy changes that you will likely not notice can make a big difference. Here are a few ideas for changing up your habits to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.


1. BUY LOOSE PRODUCE WHEN POSSIBLE

Opting for loose apples, potatoes, etc not only means you will only buy what you need, it also means you can avoid buying extra packaging and can select the best fruits and vegetables. Packs of fruit and veg are convenient, but each pack often has a plastic tray and plastic wrapping that usually ends up in the bin. A massive bag of potatoes is also often too much if you are just shopping for two so some of the food ends up in the bin! 

 

2. DITCH THE PLASTIC BAGS

While buying loose produce, there is absolutely no need to use the little plastic bags they provide for your fruit and veg. You should be washing your fruit and veg anyway so it is perfectly safe to just grab them as is, or if you hate the idea of that, take some reusable bags to the supermarket with you alongside your big shopping bags. Some supermarkets are bringing bag the amazing recyclable brown paper bags so keep your eyes peeled for those in a pinch!

 

3. STOP RELYING ON USE-BY-DATES

While use-by-dates are put in place for our safety, they are very conservative and often food is completely healthy to eat past those dates. Instead, learn what food actually looks/smells like when it goes off. Obviously don't eat something if it is well past its use-by-date, but if it is only a couple of days, inspect it and make a judgement for yourself.

  • Dairy: an obvious sour smell or curdling.
  • Red meat: pungent smell, slimy texture, discolouration. 
  • Poultry: strong smell, slimy.
  • Fish: pungent fish smell, slimy/sticky film, discolouration.
  • Fruit: furry mould, mushy texture, sickly sweet smell.
  • Veg: sprouting, yellow colouring, slimy texture.

 

4. LEARN TO LOVE FREEZING

Most foods can be frozen, milk, bread, herbs, sauces, you name it! This goes along with no. 3, if a food is approaching or has reached its use-by-date and you have no plans to cook it that day, just pop it in the freezer if it still looks fresh. Many foods can be kept frozen for months so you will definitely have time to use it up if it is in the freezer! One tip is to keep your load of bread in the freezer, not only can you toast it from frozen, it also means you will never have stale bread.

  • Milk: 3 months
  • Meat: 4-6 months
  • Oily fish: 3-4 months
  • White fish: 4-6 months
  • Bread: 4-6 months
  • Fruit & veg: 8 months
  • Leftovers: 4 months

 

5. PLAN YOUR MEALS

Planning your meals and your shopping list efficiently makes it much less likely that you will waste food. Buying only what you need for your planned meals means you won't buy lots of random ingredients and end up throwing things out! Planning what you are having at the start of the week and writing a shopping list for it makes food shopping a breeze. 

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