Love Food Hate Waste and Shop Eco in Essex There is a great deal we can do to reduce the amount of waste generated from our food purchases, including the associated and often unnecessary packaging that comes with many of the products we buy. This article, supplied by Essex County Council, will provide some useful tips.
New research shows that the average family with children could be throwing away as much as £610 worth of food each year: that’s over £50 every month. If you don’t think you are one of these families think again. Even those who are adamant they don’t throw food away still chuck away 90kg each year; that’s the equivalent weight of 90 bags of sugar.
In the UK we throw away everyday: 1.3 million unopened yoghurts, 5,500 whole chickens, 5.1 million potatoes, 1 million slices of ham, 4.4 million apples and even 2,000 unopened chocolate bars! Are we mad?
We throw away nearly half of all the salad we buy and what’s more £1 billion of all the food we waste is still within its use by date.
Most of this food gets sent to landfill where it rots and creates methane, a dangerous emission which is a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. By reducing just one tonne of food waste we will save 4.5 tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
With the rising cost of food bills there has never been a better time to take heed of our food supplies and take action to love food, hate waste. Here are some simple steps to get you on your way;
Store food in air tight containers to make it last longer.
Store food in the fridge; keep your temperature at a cool 1-5 °C and your food will last longer.
Only cook what you need. 1.2 million tonnes of the food we throw away comes from scraping the plate. For perfect portions sizes see www.lovefoodhatewaste.com
If you have leftovers put them in the fridge and eat them the next day by turning them into something tasty: for recipes see www.lovefoodhatewaste.com
Make a list when you go shopping so you only buy what you need; don’t be tempted by buy one get one free offers unless you know it will all be eaten in time.
Even better, plan your meals for the week: that way you wont be left without that vital ingredient! For weekly meal planners see www.lovefoodhatewaste.com
We throw away 1.6 million bananas everyday, if you have too many you can freeze them. When you want them take out and put them into bags. Use them in smoothies or bake them in the oven with a bit of honey dripped on top for a nice dessert. Delicious and nutritious! You could even defrost them and eat them raw, but you’d have to do it within half an hour.
If you can’t eat your veg in time, get into the habit of buying frozen vegetables. They are also good for emergency dinners!
We throw away 7 million whole slices of bread every day in the UK: keep bread fresh in the freezer and just defrost slices when needed.
There are endless tips and recipes that can be found at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com and you can even add your own tips as well. For a free copy of the Food Lovers Cook Book for tasty recipes created by Essex residents including the latest summer recipe card simply email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org call 0345 603 7625 or download it a www.reduceforessex.co.uk Remember to tell us if you wish to receive future recipes cards.
And it’s not just food waste generated from shopping but also huge amounts of packaging. But you can do a lot to reduce it. If you buy fruit and veg loose instead of in a shrink wrapped packet in a polystyrene tray then you not only save your pennies but also the amount of packaging you take home. Bananas, like other fruit and veg have their own protective skin therefore don’t need any packaging.
You could also reduce your environmental footprint further by opting to buy fresh local produce from one of the many farmers markets, shops or box schemes across Essex, reducing the number of miles your food travels to get to your plate.
Article provided by Essex County Council October 2008.