5 handy hacks to help you cut food wastePublished on
21 - 27 September is Recycle Week. Organised by Recycle Now, this year’s event is themed around saying a huge thanks to the nation for continuing to recycle during what has been (let’s face it) a pretty rubbish year for many of us.
While we are doing our best to recycle, the UK still throws away £12.5 bn worth of food each year according to Recycle Now, costing the average family almost £60 a month. To help you save money and the planet, we’ve put together five top tips to help you give food waste the chop.
1. Plan ahead
Putting some thought into what you’re going to cook and eat each week will not only make you feel smugly organised, it can help you save money and cut food waste. If you plan ahead, you’ll buy only what you need and by selecting recipes that use some of the same ingredients, you can bulk buy and save money too.
2. Use your leftovers
According to Love Food Hate Waste, the UK wasted a third less food during lockdown, when we were all at home and eating up our leftovers. You can keep this up even if some of your household is heading back to work or school. Pop last night’s lasagne in a lunchbox or reheat for dinner the following day. Not only will you save on food waste, you’ll have extra time on your hands through not having to cook from scratch or pack up a lunch. Bonus!
3. Check your dates
Food dates can be a little confusing. To clear things up, the Best Before date refers to the date that manufacturers estimate that the food will remain at its best for. In contrast, the Use By date indicates when the food really should be consumed by. Depending on how it’s stored, food can definitely last longer than its Best Before date, but you shouldn’t risk eating food after its Use by Date, even if it looks fine. Look at Use By dates when shopping and only buy what you think you can use before it goes off.
4. The big freeze
Don’t forget your freezer. WRAP UK says that around 20 million slices of bread go into food waste every day in the UK, but if you use your loaf, you can freeze bread (it will even toast right from frozen) and make it last longer. Head to lovefoodhatewaste to find out how to freeze all sorts of food items, from avocado to chicken, perfectly safely.
5. Embrace imperfection
In the UK alone, more than 3 million tonnes of fruit and veg is wasted before it’s even left the farm, according to veg box company Oddbox. There’s nothing wrong with this “wonky” fruit and veg, it’s being ditched because it is simply too big/ too small, blemished or the wrong shade. You can help save this ill-fated food by subscribing to companies like Oddbox who are rescuing this still-delicious veg and selling it on to open minded eaters.
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