“Finish your plate! There are starving children in Africa!” That classic parental guilt trip probably never got any kid motivated to eat their soggy broccoli, much less spark a passion for food waste prevention.
But your parents were right all along - food waste is a huge environmental and social issue, all the more heartbreaking because it’s so easy to prevent. That’s why we’ve put together these 10 tips to reduce food waste.
If food waste around the world were reduced by just 25%, there would be enough food for every single person on the planet. What's worse, close to 30% of agricultural land is used to grow or farm food that is subsequently thrown out. That’s right – we are trashing the planet to grow food that no one will eat.
Feeling angry yet? Don't worry - here are 10 things you can do today to combat food waste.
10 tips to reduce food waste
#1: Shop smart and realistically
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But with our busy lifestyles, we forget to sit down and plan meals – even though in the end this would save time and money. Buy exactly what you need – purchasing loose fruit & veg and scooping dry goods from bulk bins using produce bags is a great to do this.
#2: Buy the funny looking fruit and vegUp to 40% of vegetables are thrown out because they don’t meet the aesthetic requirements of supermarkets. What a waste! Looks don’t matter – the ugly ones taste just as good and are often cheaper. You can even get surplus fruit & veg delivered to your door with an Oddbox subscription.
#3: Store food properly
This is a simple, but often overlooked way to reduce food waste. Storing fruit and veg in the right temperature and conditions will go a long way to extending shelf life. When buying new groceries, move the older products to the front so you consume them first.
#4: Avoid clutter
This shouldn’t just be for your wardrobe. Keeping food in your fridge and pantry neat and visible will prevent the dreaded mouldy vegetables at the back of the fridge. Use glass jars and labels. Try plastic-free food storage for an Insta-worthy fridge that also helps combat food waste.
#5: Use up as much as possibleKeep the skin on fruit and vegetables to pick up extra nutrients. Make soups and juices when they start softening. Pay attention to use-by dates but be wary of sell-by and best-before dates – they’re often arbitrary and not related to food safety, leading to unnecessary food waste. Trust your senses, or look at online references like FoodKeeper. Experiment with new recipes to use up soured milk or stale bread.
You can freeze almost any kind of food to keep it going off in the fridge – even milk, flour or eggs. Keep food in containers or wrap to avoid drying out. Food can look different once frozen, so it helps to label containers to avoid defrosting a hummus instead of chocolate mousse!
#7: Pickle it, just a little bitToo many end-of season fruit and veggies? Canning, pickling and preserving are a delicious way to extend shelf life for months.
#8: The leftovers struggle is real
Save uneaten food when you’ve over-cooked at home or over-ordered at a restaurant (bonus points if you bring your own reusable container!). Label your leftovers with the date, and make them part of your routine.
#9: Is there an App for that?
Yep! There are new food waste apps constantly being released. Too Good To Go allows you to collect discount restaurant leftovers that would have been thrown out. Olio helps you share food with neighbours. Kitche suggests recipes from food you have on hand apps you could download.
#10: Compost, but only as your last optionRather than sending food scraps to landfill, where they will emit methane, they can be turned into nutrient-rich fertiliser either from your food waste collection or in your own backyard. There are many kitchen waste composting methods - so you can find one to suit your lifestyle.
So there you have it… our favourite 10 tips to reduce food waste. How do you combat food waste in your home? Share in the comments below and inspire others!