Tips for reducing food waste

Filed in Blog by on October 15, 2009 7 Comments
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Tips for reducing food waste

Tips for reducing food waste

It’s Blog Action Day and the theme is climate change. A couple of weeks ago, the Guardian had a competition asking readers to send in their top tips for reducing food waste.

The 5 winners received a green cone to digest any food waste and keep it from the landfill.

Food waste is a topic that effects everybody; no matter who you are or what sort of lifestyle you have and putting food into the landfill produces methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gasses. And with Gloucestershire council taking part in the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, what better subject to cover for Blog Action Day!

To highlight awareness of climate change and the fact that food waste can be a contributory factor, I’ve chosen my favourite ten suggestions for preventing food waste from all the answer submitted:

  • Go to the supermarket on a bike; then you’ll only buy exactly what you want!
  • Plan three days worth of meals, then plan the next three using up anything you didn’t manage to eat the first time.
  • Put a whiteboard on the fridge and keep track of what needs using up
  • Don’t be a slave to best before or use by dates.
  • Keep your bananas separate from your other fruit: bananas speed up the ripening process and you may find you don’t eat all of it in time.
  • Put things on different shelves in the fridge depending on how quickly they need to be used – e.g. top shelf if it needs to be eaten up the next day. That’s what we do here at zero waste towers
  • Whole lettuces or other green leafy vegetables: when you get them home from the shops, cut a slice from the base of the stalk and place the plant in a glass or bowl of water like cut flowers.
  • Cook absolutely ANY leftover fruit that looks like its dyingwith some cinnamon powder, till it turns into a mush and hey presto it tastes fab! Eat alone, with leftover yogurt, ice cream cake… the list is endless. Never will you throw away that black banana or shrivelled apple again.
  • keep a food diary for up to a week to see what you (or your family) is actually consuming, and what you are routinely throwing away.
  • If you do buy in bulk (or are swayed by the supermarket buy one, on free deals) put the extra item in the freezer immediately – or if it is fruit etc, stew it immediately.

Of course, being a bit passionate about food waste I entered myself. Here was my suggestion:

  • What we need to do is prevent the issue of food waste in the first place.In our home we have one ‘rule’ (I use that word loosely!) at the table – take what you will eat and when you have cleared your plate, you can come back for more.This way food waste is reduced dramatically and anything left over has not been played with, chewed and spat out, smothered in tomato ketchup, thrown on the floor or licked by the cat and remains ‘clean’ for reusing another day….

Alas, I wasn’t picked as a winner, but there were some great answers providing top tips for the masses. See a list of the winners here, picked by Tristram Stuart; author of “Waste

We have other tips to help you reduce food waste throughout the site; check out “How to reduce food waste” “15 ways to use up pesto sauce” and Maisie’s “tips for reducing food waste

Which is your favourite tip? Or perhaps you have one of your own to add to the mix.

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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 (7)

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  1. Sooz says:

    I love the idea of putting things of different shelves depending on how fast they need to be eaten up – I will definately be introducing that to my fridge!

  2. Great tips Mrs G,. I did the bike thing during my original run up to the zero waste project last year. It helped me shed some extra pounds off the waist as well as from the bin 😀

    Tristram Stuart’s book is a very worthwhile read for anyone who want to find out what goes on behind the scenes. 😀

  3. Some great tips there 🙂

    I’d like to add to one of them: You should keep your apples separate from other fruit, too – they emit the gas ethylene, which speeds up the ripening process of other fruit. The riper (or more rotten) the apple, the greater the effect.

    You could turn this around, of course – if you have some unripened fruit that you want to eat as soon as possible, you can put it in a brown paper bag with several reasonanly ripe apples, fold the top of the bag down and leave it at room temperature for a few days.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Sooz: Hi Sooz, it really works for us! It gets out of hand some times – like today, so this morning I’ll have another sort out. but it’s a tiny step to put in place that can really make a difference 🙂

    @Almost Mrs Average: Hey Mrs A – I didn’t know you did the bike thing, that’s awesome; well done! What sort of differences did it make to your shopping habits?

    @Thomas Winther: Hi Thomas, welcome to the site and thanks for sharing your tip – I believe bananas are even worse, so I tend to keep bananas separate (when I remember!)

  5. I always keep my apples in the fridge as this also stops the aging process from happening so quickly; plus they are lovely and cold when you bite into them.

  6. Poppy says:

    Cooked food leftovers can be whizzed up and put in the freezer for later use in soups. I had some very nice left over gloup last week that I added to some more recent left over curry and it tasted every bit as good as the more professional tins of mulligatawny soup 🙂

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Oooooo, that sets my teeth on edge just thinking about it LOL! I like room temperature food. but yes, they do keep better when chilled 😉

    @Poppy: Oh yum – that sounds delicious! I STILL forget to freeze stuff for soups, despite all Maisie’s advise. Do you thaw before making into soup, or just throw it in, heat through and let it defrost in the soup mix??

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