Winchester council’s “Taste it, don’t waste it” campaign

Filed in Blog by on September 15, 2008 13 Comments
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taste it don\'t waste it campaign by Winchester councilNow food waste is one of my things, as you’ll know from reading the blog. So I was delighted to hear that Last Monday, Winchester council launched its first ever food waste campaign with the slogan “Taste it don’t waste it”.

The council collects around 3,000 tonnes of food waste from people’s bins each year and reckons that on average, families waste around £610 worth of food each year.

The campaign is being supported by one of Winchester’s top chefs, who should know a thing or two about food waste. He is offering a personal cooking tutorial, as top prize in a competition run with the council!

His advice is to plan a weeks menu in advance to save time, money and food waste.

As I’ve harped on about before, the main reasons people throw away waste is that they prepare too much food or they don’t get around to using up fresh food before it goes off. Buy One Get One Free offers are a leading cause of this, as are bad planning at home.

The campaign urges people, as we do here at My Zero Waste, to view their ‘leftovers’ as tomorrow’s ingredients.

So why don’t we all join in with Winchester’s great idea over at My Zero Waste? Let’s not let them have all the fun! Why not set ourselves a challenge to reduce our food waste?

I know many people here use compost bins, wormeries or bokashis, but I bet we still all throw away unnecessary food each week, either by preparing too much or not using things up in time. I know I do.

Last week Mr Green fed a rotting melon, nectarine and peach to the compost. The compost enjoyed it very much, but I know we could have benefitted to with better planning and less laziness. So let’s all rummage through our fridge, veggies and fruit today to see what needs using up AND THEN DO IT!

Tell me what you found and what you are going to do with it and perhaps we can share some ideas.


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (13)

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  1. Hi Mrs Green,

    My food waste is bacon, beef rind ang Chicken fat on the meat side. Fish tends to be bones (herring, now out of season) and frying pan bits (inedible).

    In my fridge this morning, there are 2 inner 1/3’s of cabbage (can these be used?) bound for the compost bin.
    Also a pineapple crown for the compost.

    I plan meals by preparing and freezing meat dishes, weighing out to standard amounts. Freezing is the best way to achieve full meat/fish usage.

  2. You’re so right Mrs G. I remember when I first got my Bokashi, it filled up in about 2 weeks. Now it takes about 4-6 weeks to get full, which is great but still shows there’s some form of food waste, even if there’s not as much as before. Normally it is just the end slops off the boys’ plates if I haven’t anticipated their appetite or when they serve themselves with very modest portions, their eyes are sometimes “bigger than their bellies”. These days, I give myself a smaller portion, just in case I feel the need to use up their leftovers, but even that’s not failsafe.

    I used to throw so much away in the compost bin it was shocking, melons were the main culprit, bought with the best intentions but left to lurk. Knowing what I’m like, I either don’t buy one or if I do, I use it on the same day.

    Anyway, what a great campaign and I love the tomato image on Winchester’s slogan. It makes it look real fun. ;-D x

  3. maisie says:

    The only food waste we have had during the last few days have been chicken drumstick bones.

    I made a curry on Saturday night but deliberately made extra so that 2 portions could be taken off before serving to freeze for DH lunches once the weather gets cooler. This did also mean we had slightly less but there was no waste.

    I usually cook the right amount for what we need and with 2 growing boys bread and/or puddings are usually needed never mind them leaving anything. If anything is over it is frozen for “leftovers night”. I think I mentioned previously that I do a “leftovers night” where all the little bits which have been frozen if there are any are all brought out and that is dinner that night with maybe some bread and/or salad the round it out.

    Odd times there is a little gravy leftover and that is either frozen to add to a stew or curry ata later date or given the Dh work dogs.

    If any mash or veg is leftover it is frozen then used as a bubble & squeak mix when there is enough.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    John the heart of the cabbage is the best bin, imo! But it depends on your individual taste. It sounds like you are very organised. I am yet to get there.

    Mrs A – I think it is more challenging with kids. We now encourage Little Miss Green to take a small amount and come back for more, and for the most part this works.

    You have a great system too, Maisie. This is something I need to think about more.

    This evening I went through my fridge and found the following that need using within the next couple of days:
    1/2 tin sweetcorn,
    1/2 tin chicken in white sauce,
    1 small swede
    hand full runner beans
    some pastry
    1/2 tub cream
    1/4 red pepper
    1 punnet blackberries.

    I think I can make 3 dishes with that, and had intentions of making things tonight, but I have a bad head so will be off to bed soon.
    I guess I know what I am doing tomorrow though 🙂

    Apple and blackberry pie, a curry and a chicken casserole is on the menu.

  5. Kris says:

    Hope you feel better tomorrow Mrs G.

    We are very good about eating what has been prepared, whether that’s because I’ve got the portions right (or when I don’t because we are piggies!) so it’s extremely rare that cooked food goes in the bin. But like yourselves and Mrs G there are occasional casualties of tempting fruits that don’t get immediately eaten and then hang around a while till you just don’t feel you fancy it any more. I particularly struggle with melon – if I buy a whole one it’s far too much, if I buy a (wrapped) piece from Morrisons it may or may not be eaten in time. The best method for eating it seems to be to buy it from Sainsburys salad bar but there is no way round the plastic tub (the measure, so unavoidable).
    I also get squeamish about the half tins I’ve put into sealed tubs in the fridge after a while – probably because I can’t remember how long they’ve been hanging around.
    And though I’ll happy cut mould off cheese and keep using it, I’ve had a few end bits recently go just too far down the slimy path.
    But our worst failing is bananas – which just don’t seem to keep at all in the weather we’re having. However underripe I buy them they seem to be mottled and squishy before they can be used up. And though I dream I’ll make banana bread I usually don’t.

  6. just Gai says:

    I’m a great lover of leftovers and rarely throw away any cooked food. Remains of the evening meal are packed in containers, stored overnight in the fridge and removed the following day to serve as lunch. Usually I just chuck them in a frying pan and reheat them as they are, perhaps with a dash of sauce (soya or Worcestershire) or a bit of salad. But, if I’m feeling more adventurous I’ll combine them with another ingredient such as rice or noodles or egg. My husband can always be relied upon to produce an amazing stir fry from the leftover contents of the fridge and a few staple store cupboard ingredients.

    My downfall are the contents of the organic fruit and veg boxes. If I don’t plan ahead, earmarking individual items for specific dishes, then I invariably end up with items that are only fit for the compost bin. Cabbage and pears are particular casualties. Cabbage because it’s only my husband and I who will eat it, and pears because they have a nasty habit of going from hard to squishy almost overnight. Bananas are never a problem as my husband will only eat them when they are pretty black.

  7. BohoBelle says:

    My partner and I have been experimenting with a monthly food plan / menu. I’ll admit it’s easier just being two people. But its working really well. We only buy the food we know we’ll use.

    But i’ll admit I threw out 2 bananas on the weekend, like Kris I also keep telling myself that I’d turn the black ones into cake, but alas, I didn’t 🙁

    Bananas this month are already disappearing quickly as we’ve planned for breakfast smoothies. Yummo.

    ps. Thanks for the Taste It, Don’t Waste it campaign idea. I work for a Council in Australia and will recommend it to our Health department.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    Thank you Kris – I went to bed at 8pm and woke up at 6am headache free 🙂 I have an appointment with my osteopath this morning anyway, so that’s good timing.

    Over on Tracey’s blog, there is a recipe today for marrow chutney, so that’s good timing. I’m planning on doing that as well as picking some of our cooking apples and preserving them for winter apple pies.

    I’m not usually too bad with fruit because I make smoothies. But last week I had a severe case of laziness and didn’t even bother to make them – how bad is that?!

    Hi Bohobelle – welcome to the site 🙂 It sounds like things are going really well with your monthly menu plan. yes I think it’s easier with adults.

    Yesterday for tea, my 7 year old ate half a tin of chicken in white sauce, an adults portion of mashed potato, broccoli, sweetcorn and carrots. Then she was ‘hungry’ so ate a massive portion of home made apple and almond pie with cream.
    Half an hour later she wanted more so ate a large piece of fruit flapjack and packet of crisps.
    After that 2 rice cakes with pate LOL!

    On another day she’ll eat an apple for lunch and that will be it. So trying to plan around growth spurts and spur-of-the-moment cravings is virtually impossible.

    I find that breakfast smoothies are the perfect option for using up fruit – just don’t let that novelty wear off like it did for me last week!

    And good luck with your health department; let us know if they support your idea. It would be neat to see it travelling around the world!

  9. maisie says:

    BANANAS – If you have any that are past there best but would still be usable in a cake/bread/smoothie but don’t have the time or inclination to make it at that moment.

    Bung em in the freezer, I put them into a bag/tub still in the skins and when i want to use them just take out the right amount; you can peel and mush up into a tub first but must rememeber to label how many are in your tub.

    Will be a bit cold when peeling but great for smooties as you don’t need any ice to chill it down.

    Could also even eat tehm as a “ice lolly”.

    I will even buy them when reduced to silly money just to put into the freezer for such occassions.


  10. maisie says:

    If I get veg in my organic box that I don’t think I will use or it starts to look past its best, i cook it all up with some turmeric added in, and usually a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, freeze in tubs; it is a great base for a curry or even a mince dish.

    Pears i would puree up like apples and then use in a crumble or pie.

  11. Hi maisie,

    Pears are an excellent alternative to cooked apples. They do not last very long when softening, but are delicious when ripe.

    Bananas can go off but I tend to buy for 4 days and use for 5 days at most.

  12. Kris says:

    Thanks Mrs G and Maisie for the ideas of what to do with dodgy bananas.

    I don’t seem to have room in my kitchen for all the gadgets (I suspect it’s because I’ve saved all those plastic tubs!) but I do have a mini chopper which enthusiastically spins things into miniscule bits and I imagine it could mush a banana. I’ve also got a lidded measuring jug with mixer attachment and handle which I could try mixing choppered fruits with – perhaps a smoothie could be on the cards after all!

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