6a. Resource saving housekeeping – Food & Oh How We Waste It

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*Globally we waste around 1.6 billion tonnes of food every year*

*Global food waste could potentially rise by a third by 2030*

*More than 50% of food waste in the UK comes from households*

*The average household wastes around £470 of food a year*

To me, these are scary figures and indicative of a problem that really doesn’t seem to be getting much better but also doesn’t have an easy solution. This post is going to be looking at what we as individuals can be doing to help prevent and reduce the travesty of beautiful food being thrown away every day.

It can be really easy to think that what you do as an individual won’t make any difference to the overall food waste problem we have. A recent study looking at the opinions of young adults in America found that although many cared about food waste a good proportion of them didn’t see how their personal food waste contributed to the problem and felt that they were powerless to do anything about it.

But, as I always encourage people to think, what if everyone thought like that? We wouldn’t overthrow corrupt Governments or win women the right to vote. People have power, to make change and to make a difference. For example, you may think that chucking away a leftover portion of pasta once a week or so can’t be that bad right? Scale that up over say 60 years and that’s around 3000 would-be lunches binned. So yeah, I think we all have the power to make a difference.

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How can you reduce waste and save a bunch of cash?

Freezing

Who knew you could freeze grated cheese, cakes, mashed potatoes, grapes and even mashed avocado? As long as you have space in the freezer there’s no excuse to throw any of these foods (and so many more!) out.

Peels

There are lots of fruit and vegetables that many people peel before use without a second thought. However, to me this is a crime as in many cases there’s a high concentration of nutrients just below the surface of the skin and can sometimes mean half the produce is binned (or hopefully composted). Just to name a few examples roasting butternut squash with the skin on is delicious, potatoes never need peeling (not even for mash if they’ve been scrubbed well!), orange peels can be used to flavour drinks or bakes with their citrussy goodness. There are so many peel uses; check out this amazing sounding recipe for Banana Peel Cake.

Creative recipes

Get creative with recipes for food that’s otherwise wasted. I’ve found a few easy ones for BroccomoleCrispy Cauliflower Leaves and one site that has 30 uses for Pumpkin Seed (these also work great with squash seeds).

Fermentation

Fermenting foods is a nifty method that will help to drastically extend the shelf life of any vegetables, fruit or milk you know you’re not going to be using up any time soon. Love Food Hate Waste has loads of great recipes for dipping your toe into the world of fermentation. Once you realise how simple it is the potential for food saving is endless!

Leftovers

Leftovers should be treated with respect. Whether serving as a handy lunch for the next day, re-imagined into a magical new meal or frozen for a microwave meal in the future leftovers should bring joy for how much time (and money) they can save.

Shop smarter

I’m sure this is no new news but when you go shopping, try not to be tempted by in-store promotions and only buy what you need. Making a list and not going shopping hungry are also good tips for making sure you don’t overspend.

Compost

If you don’t already do this get in touch with your council or a green-fingered neighbour who might be interested in food that just couldn’t be saved. Food has no place in the landfill and organic, nourishing compost helps to complete the circle of food production.

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Apps

There are some incredible Apps which also help to tackle food waste including Olio and Too Good to Go. As an Ambassador for Olio myself I know they’re always looking for more people to help connect communities through food that would otherwise end up in the bin. Plus, you can get a heap of free food yourself at the same time!

Taking just a little while to cultivate that pause I’ve spoken about in previous posts (see Eating the Mindful Way) can help you to work out where small changes can be made to help save you money, reduce food waste and give ingredients you might have otherwise thrown out a second chance to feed your hungry belly.

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.
– Annie Leonard, Proponent of Sustainability

For the keen readers and evidence-checkers amongst you:

Cassandra et al. (2018). Wasted food: A qualitative study of U.S. young adults’ perceptions, beliefs and behaviors. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.07.026

Olio – Join the Food Sharing Revolution. https://olioex.com/

resource (2018). Global Food Waste Could Rise a Third by 2030. Available at: https://resource.co/article/global-food-waste-could-rise-third-2030-12800

Sainsburys. Foods you never knew you could freeze. Available at: https://recipes.sainsburys.co.uk/articles/tips/8-surprisingly-freezable-foods

The Food Medic (2017). Tips to Reduce Food Waste. Available at: https://thefoodmedic.co.uk/2017/08/tips-to-reduce-food-waste/

Too Good to Go. Download – https://toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb

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