Around 8.3 million tonnes of wasted food is produced by UK households every year. Therefore it is important to try and reduce our own consumption habits to help reduce our own environmental footprint. By doing these four simple things you can have a huge impact on the quantity of food you waste.
One way to cut back on food waste is choosing to buy foods like vegetables loose, instead of opting for ones that are pre-packaged. This makes sure that you pick up only what you need. This is also more effective when you make a list of things you need beforehand, so that you do not over-buy. If you need some inspiration there are lots of videos on our YouTube channel that look at student meals. It is important to ask yourself the question “do I really need this?”, and always to keep in mind what you may already have at home. When making a list, try and include as many ingredients which you can use across multiple different types of meals so you can fully utilise what you purchase. Another useful shopping hack is to only shop with the exact amount of cash you would like to spend. As opposed to your card, you’ll be more inclined to be more prudent with the amount you buy. This ensures you won’t end up with a random ingredients you can only use in that niche recipe you found!
Only bulk buy non-perishable items
Although it may sound trivial, buying food that you can store for a long time allows you to stock up. Foods like fruit and vegetables will only last a few weeks maximum as opposed to canned or some packaged food. It is helpful to bulk buy things like tinned vegetables, so that when you start to run out of food, you always have something to eat. This also saves multiple trips to the supermarket which reduces waste in the long term. Remember you can buy frozen fruit and veg as well!
Love ugly food
Often vegetables that don’t meet aesthetic requirements are overlooked by producers and thrown away. These products are usually perfectly fine to consume, and there are ways in which you can use these so-called “ugly” vegetables instead of them heading to landfills. Vegetables that may be slightly beyond their best in your fridge can still be used as long as they are prepared properly (e.g. cut away any bad parts), and cooked thoroughly. Also, companies like Oddbox offer a service focused on sustainability, which allows you to get normally wasted fruit and vegetables delivered straight to your door. This is a massive step you can personally take to decrease your environmental impact caused by excessive food wastage. If you are looking out for “wonky” vegetables at the shops these will be the ones that are both cheaper and in less packaging.
Use the freezer
When trying to reduce your food wastage, your freezer can be your best friend. For example, if you accidentally make way too much to eat in one meal, you can divide the leftovers into plastic containers. Once you do this, you can quickly reheat for a quick and easy meal. Freezers can also extend the life of some foods well beyond their use-by dates. Surprisingly, a lot of food can be frozen for long periods of time before you use the. For example, a loaf of bread you realise you won’t finish before it goes bad, can be separated and frozen as well as things like soup, milk and even eggs can all be frozen.
Whilst it often seems difficult to think about the consequences of our wastage, hopefully using a few of these tricks can help you attempt to change your views of the food you waste.