Ways to Reduce Food Waste in Your Kitchen

The ethical, economic and environmental issue of food waste is often overlooked.

Did you know that around of food consumed around the world is wasted, contributing to 10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? To put it simply, if food waste was a country, it would be ranked THIRD after the USA and China in terms of greenhouse gas production. As food rots and degrades, it begins to emit harmful gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere. In the UK alone, it is estimated that 10 million tonnes of food waste is produced every year, 70% of which was intended to be consumed. This has a value of over £20 billion and is associated with more than 25 million tonnes of GHG emissions. 

Food waste also has ethical implications. 1 in 9 people in this world are malnourished, which is the product of excessive food production demands, and something we should really consider when buying and wasting excessive food. 

It is undeniably urgent and important that we reduce our food waste. By reducing our waste, it has the equivalent positive effect on our environment as removing 1 in 4 cars off the road. 

So, how can we reduce our food waste? 

The solution is easy.. 

  1. Meal Planning

The two rules to a cost-effective, waste-efficient food shop are:

  • Never shop hungry. 
  • Plan your meals for the week ahead of your shop. 

You’d be surprised at how these simple changes can reduce your food waste. By shopping on a full stomach, you are less likely to be tempted by things you don’t need, and are less likely to be convinced by supermarket offers incentivising you to shop excessively. 

By planning meals ahead of your trip to the shops, you are effectively streamlining your shop to only include the ingredients necessary for the meals you intend to cook before your next shop. This not only makes your trip cheaper, but also reduces the chance of food waste.

2. Save Your Left-Overs

Instead of throwing out leftovers from your meals, or wasting a half-used fresh ingredient, invest in containers or food storage tools that preserve your food, so that you can enjoy your left-over meals and ingredients another day without waste. 

Whilst cling-film and zip-lock bags are the most common method of food preservation, we recommend investing in some tupperware, old jars or beeswax wraps as sustainable and cost-effective ways to preserve your food without contributing to the use of single-use plastics. 

  1. Know your ‘best-before’ from your ‘use-by’ dates

Food products often have both ‘best-before’ and ‘use-by’ dates. Make sure you know the difference. 

The ‘best-before’ date symbolises that the food is safe to eat after the date stated, whereas the ‘use-by’ date is stricter and only used on products that could cause sickness if eaten after the date recommended. Make sure you pay attention to this before throwing away perfectly edible food. 

Also, look out for the freezer sign on food packaging; you can safely freeze these items after the ‘best -before’ date, and up to the ‘use-by’ date. This means you can preserve food that may be on its turn for a better day.