As the Cost of Living Crisis continues, saving money is on everyone’s mind – and reducing food waste is a straightforward way to do this. On average, each UK household throws away £496 worth of food every year. Households are responsible for 70% of the UK's food waste - equalling 10.5 billion meals. Two thirds of the 6.6 million tonnes of food we throw away is edible.
Here are 8 top tips to reduce the food that ends up in your bin - helping your waistline, your wallet and your planet!
1. Only buy what you need
Checking your cupboards before you shop, planning your meals and making a list will ensure all the food in your basket has a purpose. If you can, try to resist Buy One Get One Free offers on foods where you don't need more than one.
2. Store your food efficiently
Move older products to the front of your cupboard and newer ones to the back, to ensure you use them up before they go off. Investing in re-sealing clips and airtight containers can also help to keep food fresher for longer.
3. Understand food labelling
Different labels give you alternative information about the food inside. "Use by" tells you when the food may no longer be safe to eat, whereas "best before" only tells you when the food is at its best - it may still be safe to eat for much longer. Use your judgement, such as how the food looks and smells, to decide whether it is still edible.
4. Bulk cook
A great way to save food that is approaching the end of its “use by” date is bulk cooking or batch cooking. Whether you prefer soup, stew, curry or chilli, you can make it in a large batch and then store in the freezer for a quick mid-week meal. If you can't eat it all yourself, give it to family, friends and neighbours!
5. Revive your limp vegetables
Just like flowers, vegetables go limp when they don't have water! As long as they are not mouldy, vegetables can be brought back to life by popping them in water for a few hours. This works for all kinds, including broccoli, carrots, lettuce, herbs, asparagus and celery.
6. Get creative while using up food
Find new ways to prepare the food you are struggling to use up! For example, stale bread can be turned into croutons, breadcrumbs or a bread and butter pudding. Blend fruit into a delicious smoothie, or cook down vegetables for a hearty soup.
7. Get to know the food you waste
Keep a note of the foods you find yourself throwing away. If you notice a trend appearing in the types of food you regularly waste, you can either reduce the amount you buy, or find new recipes to use it up.
8. Compost your scraps
Food that is thrown in the bin often goes to landfill and cannot decompose properly. Fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and eggshells can all be composted to make nutrient-rich soil that your garden will love! Just avoid meat and dairy products that might attract pests.
Visit our website to find delicious, cost-effective recipes made from surplus foods: https://faresharemidlands.org.uk/recipes/
FareShare Midlands is the region’s largest food redistribution charity. We take good quality surplus food from the food industry and get it to frontline charities all over the Midlands, reaching more than 60,000 vulnerable people every week.
Help us fight hunger – donate, give food or volunteer today!