What are some ways to reduce food waste? We throw away vast quantities of food every year because of cooking too much or buying food that goes off before we can use it. This not only wastes money, but is a waste of a precious resource. So what can we do to cut down on the amount of food we throw away? Try these ways to reduce food waste …
1. Avoid Bulk Buys
One of the best ways to reduce food waste is to pass up the bulk buys on food with a short shelf life. It's worth buying non-food items or those with a long shelf life when they're on offer, but avoid buying too much perishable food like dairy or meat unless you can freeze it. 2 for 1 offers on fruit or vegetables invariably means that you end up throwing a lot of it away - so it's not such a bargain after all.
2. Use Leftovers
Do you usually throw any leftovers away? You could be wasting a lot of food every month. Tiny scraps may not be worth saving, but if there's enough to be used then put it in the fridge or freezer for another day. The bonus is that you can get another meal, which is great for saving time when you want a quick meal.
A freezer is an excellent way for avoiding food waste. Freeze leftovers and items that you won't use up before the expiry date. Put the food in plastic bags or containers and label them, so that you'll be able to locate them easily when you want them. Otherwise they'll lurk at the back of the freezer drawer and never get used because you don't know what's in them!
4. Shop Carefully
Food waste often arises because you've bought more food than you can use up. So plan your menus for the week, and only buy what you need for those menus. Ignore the tempting displays made to encourage you to buy items on impulse, and only buy what's on your list. Also check your kitchen before you shop, so that you don't buy food that you already have.
5. Watch Dates
Keep an eye on use-by dates, and make sure you use food before the date expires. A lot of food is thrown away because we don't use it in time. Multi-packs may seem to be a better bargain, but they're not if you won't get through them in time.
6. Plan Menus
Menu planning is a good way to ensure that you don't buy more food than you need (it also avoids wondering what to cook every evening, and finding you don't have what you want). Work out a week's meal plans and buy what you need for the week ahead. This will save you money, as you won't end up ordering takeout or buying ready meals.
7. Compost Food Scraps
Finally, when you do have any food scraps that aren't worth saving, put them in your compost bin or food collection bin (if you have a municipal collection). They can then be turned into useful compost rather than wasted. Do check first what food items can be placed in the compost.
How much money do you think you waste on food that you throw away?