7 reasons why we should reduce our food waste
Did you know that between 2006/07 and 2010 food waste in the UK has been reduced by around 13%, over 1 million tonnes, that’s enough food to fill the whole of Wembley Stadium! However, with 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink still being thrown away every year from UK homes there is still much more we can do.
Here’s 7 fast facts from Love Food Hate Waste that spell out the environmental impact this waste continues to have on our planet and just how much money we toss in the bin each year.
Love Food Hate Waste Fast Facts:
1. Did you know of the 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink thrown away each year, more than half of this is could have eaten.
2. Wasting this food costs the average household £480 a year, rising to £680 for a family with children, the equivalent of around £50 a month.
3. If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 5 cars off the road.
4. The waste of good food and drink is associated with 4% of the UK’s total water footprint.
5. There are two main reasons why we throw away good food: we cook or prepare too much or we don’t use it in time.
6. The foods we waste the most are fresh vegetables and salad, drink, fresh fruit, and bakery items such as bread and cakes.
7. Did you know we throw away more food from our homes than packaging in the UK every year?
So what more can we do? Here are my top tips on how you can get more from your food and reduce unnecessary waste.
LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
Making a second meal from your leftovers not only saves unnecessary food waste, it also saves money and your time. Fortunately the Internet is jam-packed with lots of fabulous websites to help you rustle up a taste sensation with your scraps. My favourites include:
LoveFoodHateWaste.com – the ‘mummy’ of all leftover recipes sites, it has recipes for everyone and every occasion, including ‘Fridge-friendly’, ‘Great for parties’ and ‘Healthy Ideas’ recipes. Plus, don’t forget to check out their new app, which allows you to easily keep track of food planning, shopping, cooking meals as well as making the most of leftovers. My favourite feature, My Kitchen, where you can store all the info about what you’ve got at home in your fridge, cupboard or freezer – perfect for those who have a tendency to forget what food they’ve already got when out food shopping
BBC Good Food – again lots of leftover recipe ideas, plus each recipe has a star rating, so you can gauge whether or not it’ll be a winner at your dinner table.
There is, of course, some of food waste which we wouldn’t eat, for example peelings and vegetable tops and tails, but that doesn’t mean they should be destined for landfill. You may be surprised to learn that there are many raw fruit and vegetable scraps that can be used to grow more. Why not give these a go?
Spring Onions – rather than discarding the white ‘root’ end of the onion, place it in a jar with a little water and leave in a sunny position. After a short while the green ‘leaves’ will start to shoot and you’ll have a constant supply for mealtimes.
Ginger – don’t let that last knob of ginger wizen up in your fridge – plant it instead. Simply place the ginger with a small bud facing upwards in a little soil. Position in well-lit area, though not in direct sunlight, and keep moist. Soon it will shoot and produce new roots which can be harvested and used. To start the process again, simply re-plant a piece of the ginger rhizome.
Carrots – rather than scooping up your leftover carrot tops and putting them in the bin, why not grow your own carrot seeds? This is a really simple ‘grow your own’ project and one that is great to involve your children. Just take the carrot top, place in a small dish with some water and leave in a well-lit area – ideally out of direct sun. Water regularly to save your carrot tops from drying out and soon you’ll have your very own carrot plant which, if it blooms, will produce seeds for you to plant the following year.
If you love a little ‘green’ cleaning like I do, you’ll know there lots of uses for leftover food around the home, here’s some of my tips. Alternatively, here are a couple of other foodie reuse ideas you might like to try:
Eggshells – eggshells are surprisingly versatile around the home and in the garden, of course there is the obvious tip of using crushed eggshells to keep snails and slugs at bay, but what about using eggshells as seedling planters. Simply fill the empty eggshell with a little compost, sow seed and water. When they are ready to plant out, gently break out of the eggshell and plant.
Teabags – with Britain being the second largest tea drinking nation in the world, second to the Republic of Ireland*, and only 44%** of those consumers being aware that teabags can be recycled, a whopping 370,000 tonnes of tea bags sent to landfill every year!
The first thing you can do, should your local authority collect your food waste, is to put your teabags in your kitchen caddy.
Or, if you have a compost bin, pop your used teabags in with your garden waste, teabags are great for fertiilising your garden.
Alternatively, why not use your old teabags for cleaning wooden floors or furniture? Simply steep the used teabags in boiling water, allow to cool then use the ‘tea’ water to clean the wood, dry with a soft cloth. The benefits of using tea is that it’s gentle on the wood, yet has a slight acidity to remove any grime, plus the colour of tea enhances the natural colour of your wooden floor or furniture.
How do you save food waste, have you got any other re-grow tips or green cleaning ideas? If you have let me know, I’d love to share them.
*UK Tea Council
**At Home with Unilever Community Panel