The phrase ‘waste not want not’ holds new significance in today’s world, as we reduce food waste to protect our planet. The UK alone, for example, wastes more than seven million tonnes of food every year. This takes a huge economic toll on British households, racking up a twelve-figure deficit nationwide, besides the damage it inflicts on the environment.
How Does Food Waste Impact The Environment?
Rotting food waste releases methane, a chemical four times as powerful as carbon dioxide in accelerating the greenhouse effect. However, most domestic food and drink creates a large carbon footprint before it even arrives in your cupboards and fridges. Agriculture accounts for a sizable chunk of humanity’s emissions and gobbles up precious resources around the world.
From deforestation to packaging and shipping, our groceries cost more than their prices might suggest. Many of these costs prove necessary, as food and drink keep us alive. However, the environmental impact looms large whenever food goes to waste. Households, therefore, make a significant contribution to the environment whenever they take steps to reduce food waste.
Reduce Food Waste When You Shop
Aim For Zero Waste Groceries
Specialised zero waste shops help you reduce food waste by stocking refillable and biodegradable containers of groceries. If you’re not lucky enough to have one nearby, some mainstream supermarkets are steadily incorporating a zero-waste ethos. Or, you can just take matters into your own hands. Shopping for plastic-free, local produce helps you reduce wasted packaging and wasted air miles as you buy your favourite food and drinks.
Buy Long-Lasting, Low-Impact Groceries
You can’t save money buying in bulk if half the produce ends up in the bin. Bulk-buying canned food or long-life milk proves far more efficient than grabbing two weeks’ worth of fruit and veg that’ll go off in a couple of days.
Plan Your Shopping to Reduce Food Waste
It can be tough to stick to, but planning offers the best way to reduce food waste. Creating a meal rota, varied yet repeatable, lets you know exactly what you’ll need and when you’ll need it. No one’s perfect, but introducing some meal planning helps cut waste and cut bills. Try not to shop when you’re hungry, that’s a recipe for disaster!
Reduce Food Waste When You Cook
Cook the Right Amounts
Just like effective shopping, tightening your cooking plans helps reduce food waste at home. Portion control accounts for a huge chunk of domestic food waste, so careful measurements make the most of your groceries.
Cook Sustainable Dishes
Meal prepping goes beyond the food aisles, as it travels onto the chopping board and into the freezer. Cooking long-lasting meals, like pasta bakes or versatile stews, helps reduce food waste. Modern cookery innovations mean you don’t have to live off grog and ship’s biscuits to make the most of your larder, and there are plenty of delicious and durable recipes online.
Make a Meal Out of Your Leftovers
Zero waste recipes, like zero waste shops, seem like a modern innovation, but they’ve been around for millennia in one form or another. We can learn from the past to protect our futures and make our food go further to reduce waste. Make bruised fruit into pies or smoothies, make stale bread into croutons, and make stalks and stems into stock, and you’ll cut your food waste in no time.
Reduce Food Waste in Your Storage
Make the Most of Your Freezer
The freezer is your friend when it comes to reducing food waste. More things will go in an ice cube tray than water alone. Think outside the box, while you store your leftovers firmly inside the box to ward off freezer burn.
Seal, Clip, Bottle Box, and Jar
The title says it all here. While many clips and bottle lids are made of plastic, they make up for themselves by preserving food and reducing waste. On the topic of preservation, bottling or jarring preserves and pickles also prove a great way to make the most of your shopping.
Track Your Food to Curb Your Waste
Knowledge is power, and the kitchen is no exception. Learn from your food waste mistakes, see what you keep chucking out, and simply stop buying it. Careful labelling and stock rotation help you prioritise and ensure the first in are the first out.
Revolutionise Your Waste With Compost and Kitchen Gardens
When you put your waste to good use, it stops being waste entirely. Composting food waste turns it into powerful fertiliser. Using this fertiliser to grow fresh greens helps you reduce food waste, slash your shopping list, and make your kitchen come alive.
Conclusions: Reduce Your Food Waste, Eat Better, and Feel Better
It’s important to remember that, while streamlining your home is important, there are far bigger threats to the environment nationwide. However, doing your bit to reduce food waste, and sharing tips with your wider circle, gives you a great platform to affect change.