How to Reduce Food Waste
Want to throw away less at the end of each week? Here are 5 easy-to-follow and affordable ways to reduce food waste today. You don’t need to spend money on expensive equipment, or spend hours slaving over a hot stove to start reducing your food waste. Simple habits can transform how you shop, cook and eat in a way that benefits you and the planet.
Effort Level: 5/5
You will need: Compost, a plant pot, a clean empty jar, vegetable seeds/scraps
Re-growing food is a great way to tackle food waste, by using the seeds and scraps of used vegetables to grow new produce. Many vegetables can be regrown and the process is both enchanting and fascinating.
Spring onions are a staple of many meals, whether it’s a salad or a stir fry and creating an abundant supply from your kitchen couldn’t be easier. Chop up your spring onion as normal, but be careful to leave the roots attached to the spring onion bulb. Then, instead of throwing away the bulb after, pop it into a clean jar of fresh water where it should be submerged. Leave in the jar and make sure to change the water daily. You will begin to see green sprouts within a week, and from there your onion will continue to grow.
Take a peeled garlic clove (whether it has sprouted or not) and place into a shallow dish of water, making sure the clove is fully submersed. Leave for a few days. If successful, the garlic should start to grow little green sprouts. Once the shoots have appeared, leave for another day or two until they have grown to at least centimeter in height. Then place the sprouted garlic glove into a six inch pot filled with a 1:1 ratio of soil to good quality compost. If you want to learn more about producing compost at home, head over to our Beginners Guide to Composting.
When planting the garlic clove, make sure that only the green sprouts are showing- the rest of the clove should be buried. Place your pot outside in a sunny part of the garden, and wait. Garlic can take up to 6 months to grow into a full bulb of cloves, and thrives in colder temperatures. It can be planted from September to December, and from January to late March, so there is still time to plant them before summer arrives!
Effort Level: 1/5
You will need: a microwave, kitchen roll or paper towers
Giving food items a new lease of life is easier than you think, saving you money on your food shop and the planet. Got a loaf of bread that’s started to go hard? Take a sheet (or two if your loaf is bigger) of kitchen roll or paper towel and wet it with cold water. Gently squeeze out excess water from the sheet, and then wrap around the loaf. Microwave for 10 seconds and voila! Your load should be soft once again.
Effort Level: 3/5
You will need: A phone/laptop, internet connection
We’ve all been there- the end of the week rolls round and that head of broccoli, or pack of tomatoes have to be thrown away. That loaf of bread you bought last Sunday has gone mouldy, and the grapes that sat so promisingly in the fruit bowl have turned sour. It happens to the best of us, and though a bunch of grapes here, or half a loaf there may not seem like a big deal, these small accidental wastages add up to some shocking statistics.
Reducing food waste doesn’t just have to mean buying less, but buying more intentionally- setting out to the shops with a plan of the ingredients you want to buy for this week’s specific meals. A quickly scribbled shopping list might not cut it, especially if you’re buying for a household of people, but luckily there are apps to help. Pepperplate allows you to add your own recipes to a weekly meal planner and gives you a tailored shopping list, meaning you’ll only buy food that you have planned to use. Tesco and Mealime help you to plan meals and shopping lists according to their massive range of recipe ideas and can be used in app form or desktop browser.
Effort Level: 2/5
You will need: Freezer bags, an ice cube tray/bun tray
Freezing allows you to pause the ripening process of your fruits and vegetables, and preserve meats, cheeses, and breads until you are ready to cook and eat them. This means you don’t end up throwing food away that you haven’t yet had the chance to eat. Did you know that you can also freeze herbs, and even oil? Check out our Flavour Savers recipe, and learn how to make these handy herb bombs that preserve herbs and jazz up any meal.
Effort level: 3/5
Your will need: A blending device.
Squidgy carrots? Overripe bananas? Don’t immediately reach for the bin- fruit and veg past its best can still work wonders in smoothies and sauces. As long as there’s no mould, rotten smells, or slimy texture present, a lot of fruit and vegetables are still okay to use! Soft carrots and tomatoes can be blended together to make a nourishing pasta sauce or soup, whilst overripe bananas can be frozen and blended with milk to make a delicious banana milkshake or smoothie bowl. Why not check out Gunes Kitchen’s Magic Green Juice recipe, featured on our Instagram page.