When it comes to food and drink, the best thing we can do, both environmentally and financially, is make the most of what we buy rather than throwing it away. By the time food has reached our homes, it has taken a huge amount of energy, water, and packaging to be produced, transported, and stored.
Hacks to reduce food waste
Planning is everything. Planning your meals is one of the most effective ways you can cut food waste and bills.
- Keep a pad and pen in the kitchen (or use a note or app on your phone) and write down items when they run out so you don’t buy things you already have.
- Work out a weekly meal plan. Shopping for specific ingredients with meals in mind and taking a list helps ensure we use what we buy.
- Don’t plan every meal! Just thinking about 4-5 meals allows you to be flexible with unexpected leftovers, especially if you keep some meals in the freezer as a back-up in case your plans fall through.
- Buying foods that can be used for several different dishes gives us flexibility to create different meals.
Make sure you store food correctly according to the label. Often, foods come with lots of packaging which seems wasteful, but is often designed to help keep the food fresh, so keep it in its original packaging when you store it.
Make sure your fridge and freezer are at the correct temperature. A fridge that is too warm will lead to waste.
Use your freezer. It’s an amazing resource to prevent waste when your plans change.
Food can be frozen any time before the ‘use by’ date on the label so if you buy something and don’t use it straight away, you can freeze it anytime before the use by date and it will still be safe.
3. Cooking Leftovers
Try to keep your store-cupboard and freezer well-stocked with a variety of canned, dried, and frozen goods. These store-cupboard essentials have a long life and can be mixed with other foods to make delicious meals.
Use leftovers for lunch the next day. A small investment in a plastic tub to carry leftovers can pay-back very quickly.