Love your leftovers

Filed in Blog by on March 10, 2010 4 Comments
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Mrs Green picks up her free leftovers container in Sainsburys

Mrs Green picks up her free leftovers container in Sainsburys

After my mountain of food waste last week I thought it was time to brush up on some food waste reduction skills. It reminded me of a trip we took to Sainsburys a few weeks ago where they were promoting their ‘Love your leftovers‘ campaign.

As you’re probably aware by now, around a third of the food bought in the UK, or 6.7 million tonnes, gets thrown out from homes annually. Most of this food is perfectly edible.

As a nation we bin 220,000 loaves of bread, empty 660,000 eggs, chuck 555,000 chickens, sling 1.2 million sausages and throw out 1.3 million yogurts every day into landfill. We were talking to our local council this week and they reckoned around one fifth of household waste in this area is food!
Much of this is due to buying too much in the first place, poor portion control or incorrect storage (or in my case where ill health catches you unaware).

Sainsburys are doing their bit to tackle food waste and their ‘Love your Leftovers’ campaign was part of this.

When we entered the store we were greeted by two assistants who were giving every customer a free container. The idea was that you put any leftover food into it, rather than throwing it away, pop it into your fridge and as I would say “View your leftovers as ingredients”. I was also given some recipe ideas for using up common leftovers such as sausages, vegetables and rice.

In store you’ll find storage advice for fruit and vegetables, while online you can view plenty of ideas for making more with leftovers.

Here on My Zero Waste, one of our most popular pages is about reducing food waste, so why not pop over and see if you’ve missed any tips or add your own!

We also had a guest post before Christmas from WRAP, giving us top advise on making the most of our freezers. This is something I often forget to do and should develop my skills on.

What about you – what are your top tips for reducing food waste and loving your leftovers? Maisie shared hers back in September with her “Tips for reducing food waste” post and I’d love to hear yours!


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 (4)

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  1. Alea says:

    What a wonderful campaign! We work hard at our house to make sure that leftovers do not go to waste. For us the key is a little bit of organization, first when we shop so we do not buy more than we can eat, and then when I plan meals, so that we use up the items that we bought, rather than running to the grocery store for something new. This week we are working hard to clean out the refrigerator before we go on vacation, so I only bought one item at the grocery store; some much requested breakfast sausage.

  2. sandy says:

    Planning is the key. as well as not buying too much, and weighting portions, I know this sounds a bit tedious, but it is worth it. We also freeze our bread and only get out enough for a sandwich each time we need it.

  3. Jane says:

    Measuring pasta and rice with a mug works well. As does expecting to have a leftover lunch or storecupboard meal as part of the weekly plan and so avoiding buying too much fresh food – the consequence of which used to be fighting to cook it when tired or eating it and getting bigger from eating too much!

    I changed to buying a smaller loaf of bread more often from buying a larger one. So much was wasted when it went mouldy that it definitely wasn’t any cheaper. Now it is just the occasional crust that gets thrown away/put out for the birds.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Alea: Top tips, Alea – thank you. Organisation is the key to success. I hope you manage to clear your ‘fridge and have a wonderful holiday!

    @sandy: You’re right Sandy; it IS worth it, especially when you add up the savings made by a little forward thinking. Good plan with the bread – I’ve never achieved that but we mostly get through it all before the birds need to help out!

    @Jane: You made me realise something with your comment Jane. It’s now EXPECTED to eat leftovers here; in fact they provide 2 or 3 of our meals per week. I couldn’t imagine anything else. Funny how these habits move into place without you realising.

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