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5 simple ways to reduce food waste and go greener


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Approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food goes to waste every year — that accounts for over one-third of what is produced.

Food loss has a longstanding negative impact on the environment and the economy. For example, food waste costs the average person £230 a month. Disposal of food waste in London alone costs £50 million each year.

 Image Source: Pixabay

Valuable resources including water, land, energy, labour and capital are needlessly squandered. Food waste generates 19 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and is a bigger contributor to climate change than even packaging waste.

Most of all, food waste affects our society.

Currently, 36 million die from lack of food and over 800 million people are suffering from severe malnutrition. Research shows that world poverty could be solved with less than a quarter of the food that is currently wasted in the US, UK and Europe.

The good news is that you can make a change. Start reducing your own food waste (and save money!) with these simple steps. 


1. Shop and cook realistically

This seems obvious, but the main personal reason behind food waste is ineffective grocery shopping. Know yourself, reflect on your eating patterns and make a list accordingly. Make a game plan before a trip to the shops. When in doubt, stick to multipurpose ingredients that go well with what you usually cook. 

Pay special attention when buying fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers as they have the highest waste rates of any food. It helps to buy frozen greens!

 Image Source: Pixabay

2. Start meal plans and pack leftovers

Plan what to cook at the start of every week and leave one unplanned day where you can utilise whatever’s left in your fridge before your next shopping trip. Mobile apps such as Mealime not only help you note down your plans but also provide helpful cooking recipes!

Remember not to simply throw away leftover food - store it in the fridge and think about how you might repurpose it for a quick bite the next day. 

3. Freeze

After a big grocery shop, freeze food with near expiry dates that you know you won’t eat soon. That way, you avoid unnecessary spoilage. 

4. Understand expiry dates and storage methods

The best way to judge freshness of food is to use your own senses. Expiry dates aren’t heavily regulated. They are estimated by producers to ensure the highest level of quality of food during sales, but don’t throw out meat that is clearly still normal in colour, smell and texture!

5. Keep a list of wasted food

This feeds into the first few steps where we emphasised on the importance of meal planning. The more records you keep of food you threw away, the better you can plan in the future. 

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