Editor’s note: Today we have a guest post from Zoe Morrison: an eco-friendly money saving blogger who writes at www.ecothriftyliving.com. Zoe writes about living a life style that is affordable, even thrifty, and is not damaging to the environment. We found a shared interest in finding ways to avoid food waste so I asked her to share some of her ideas – and experience – on the topic. Oh, and if you’ve recently heard that Zoe doesn’t use toilet paper, I have it on good authority that this is not true. Hope you enjoy Zoe’s post and take on some of her ideas.
Food waste is a massive problem in this country. UK households are responsible for a whopping 50% of the food that gets thrown away and it is costing the average family around £60 a month (according to lovefoodhatewaste.com).
We also know that the use of food banks in the UK is rapidly increasing. To top it all, food gives off methane in landfill – a greenhouse gas; and contributes to global warming and the destruction of our planet.
Food waste just makes no sense at all. It hits your pocket and the environment.
To avoid food waste, all you need to do is make two easy and straight forward changes! Honestly it’s easy, it takes hardly any time and when you feel demotivated you can just think about what you could do with £60 extra every month!
Get started now!
These are the two changes you’d need to make:
- Keep a food waste diary. For one week record all the food that gets chucked. It will help you realise exactly what types of food are being wasted in your household and why. Once you have done that:
- Make a meal plan from what you have in your home already. Do you have food that has been in your freezer, the back of your cupboard or the bottom of your fruit bowl for ages because you have forgotten about it? Making a meal plan from the food you already own is a great way to have a clear out, save a bit of money and avoid wasting food that you already have by leaving it too long before you use it!
You’d never waste food again!
These changes make it easy to follow eight simple rules that are your weapon in the battle to avoid food waste. Master these rules you will never waste food again through neglect, ignorance or forgetfulness:
#1. Look back at your food waste diary, work out what you have been buying too much of and what you actually need to buy going forwards.
#2. Before you go to the shops write a shopping list and stick to it! Don’t get sucked into special offers, especially on fresh food which will go off if you don’t use it up in time!
#3. When you bring the food home put the new stuff at the back of the cupboard or drawer and bring the stuff that needs using up first to the front.
#4. Only cook what you need – weigh out things like rice and pasta and if you only need half a jar of sauce, leave the other half in the fridge for next time.
#5. Freeze leftovers – it doesn’t matter how convinced you are you will use the leftovers the next day, it doesn’t always happen. In the freezer if you forget to use them up straight away they won’t go off!
#6. Use it up – once a week check your fresh food to see what needs using up. If you have speckled bananas or soft carrots don’t chuck them. Any veg past it’s best is great in soups or stir fries. Over ripe fruit makes a fantastic ingredient in smoothies, cakes and more!
#7. Give it away – if you aren’t going to use it up someone else can benefit from it. Offer it to friends, neighbours or even strangers in person or online!
#8. If all else fails compost your food! Home-made compost is so much better than the shop bought stuff and it’s free!
Learning to avoid food waste, and actually avoiding it, can be fun if you take a bit of time to discover new recipes to use up things that would have been previously chucked.
I discovered some of my favourite meals when I was had to use food because it was nearing its use by date! For example, I especially love over-ripe bananas – they make delicious sugar free ice-cream and the more over ripe they are the better the ice-cream tastes!