How do we avoid wasting food?

bin overflow

This is a common theme at the moment within the media, what with the recent press release of waste figures from one of our leading supermarkets – Tesco.

This week it was stated that the supermarket chain wastes around 30,000 tonnes of food every six months. This is a shocking figure, and it should be considering we still have sections of the British public suffering food poverty.

Seagul skip

Shocking as this news may be, it presents us with a problem, and that problem is:

“How do we stop wasting food?”

In our current disposable culture it’s not as immediately apparent as you might think, the simple answer is that we have to give up some of our time to plan how we shop and take the time to understand the longevity of food.

we all know how convenient it is to go to the supermarket to do “the big shop”, maybe an hour or two and its done. The problem is almost a quarter of that food will be thrown away because its gone off (or we think it has gone off due to confusing use by and best before labeling). The remainder that gets wasted is often due to overestimating portions.

takeaway waste

The fact of the matter is it just takes a little time and thought to dramatically reduce our food waste, so here are my 5 tips:

5 ways to reduce the food we waste:

  1. Stop listening to labels and use your own judgement: A large percentage of the food we throw away is edible, we throw it away because the label tells us to. The fact of the matter these dates are worked out on an average, therefore some will go off before the date and some after. So check the item yourself, sniff it, taste it, prod it and above all use your own judgement.
  2. Look for recipes that include “past their best” items: Like stale bread for summer pudding or cheese sauces sometimes taste better if made with old cheese, american pancakes with old yoghurt. There are plenty out there and some are really worth a try.
  3. Shop more efficiently: Buy little and often, this will avoid the forgotten food at the back of the fridge syndrome. There are more and more local food producers, grocers and shops who offer food boxes delivered, which can help if you’re strapped for time.
  4. Mind your portions! : Make sure that when you’re serving up that all your servees have enough food to satisfy but not so much there are leftovers on the plate and if there are leftovers, pop them in the freezer and you can use them another day when cooking feels too much like hard work.
  5. BOKASHI!!! : Or composting for the un-initiated. Inevitably there will be a little waste at the end, even for the most conscientious, but all is not lost! Get yourself a bokashi compost kit and make supercharged plant food to keep your flowers happy, or even grow some more veg!

If you would like to read some more about the problems and some more helpful hints try the following:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24620191

http://www.bokashidirect.co.uk/?gclid=CKCV7bDOsLoCFbPItAodYm8AXg

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24603008

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/26/food-mould-safe-or-toxic

http://wales.lovefoodhatewaste.com/node/3794

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20971347

Images by Steph House © 2013. All rights reserved. https://www.facebook.com/greenhouseconservation?ref=hl

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