Reports suggest that around one-third of the food that we buy ends up getting wasted. We buy far more than we need. We cook huge portions which we could never finish in one sitting. We don’t check use-by dates, and so food goes bad before we get around to eating it, and we throw leftovers away without giving it a second thought.
For most of us, wasting food is a bad habit that we’ve fallen into over time. It’s a combination of factors leading to vast amounts of waste. But wasting food is a terrible thing. It’s awful for the environment, it’s a waste of money, and it’s unbearably selfish if you think about all of the people out there that are going without.
Bad habits, however, are bad habits because they are hard to break. If it’s a culmination of behaviors leading to waste, then there’s more than one thing that you need to address before you can start to make a significant impact on your household waste. Here are some of the things that you could try.
Use an App
There are apps for nearly everything nowadays, and managing your food waste is no different. An app like OLIO gives you a great way to reduce waste by sharing with your neighbors. If you’ve got something going out of date, food that you don’t need, or an excess of veg that you’ve grown yourself, you list them on the app, and people in your local area can come and collect them.
Make Friends with Your Freezer
Most food can be frozen. Even food that has previously been frozen can be frozen again as long as it has been cooked into a meal once thawed. Say you defrost a pack of ground beef, you can’t refresh it as it is, but you could cook a cottage pie and freeze the leftovers. Freeze unused portions, freeze food that you’ve bought that’s close to the sell-by date and freeze individual ingredients that you’ve got too much of.
Take Leftovers to Work
Meals like the best pasta puttanesca recipe, make fantastic lunches the next day. If you’ve got anything left, an alternative to freezing is popping it in a sealed tub and taking it to work for lunch the next day.
Share Your Meals
If you’ve got any ill, elderly, or super busy neighbors, chances are they’d welcome a portion of your latest culinary delight.
Meal Plan and Write Effective Shopping Lists
Meal plans and shopping lists are a great way to make sure that you only buy what you need when you do hit the shops. But, make sure you check your cupboards before writing your lists so that you aren’t buying ingredients that you’ve already got.
Check Use-By Dates
Take the time to check the dates of anything that you buy so that you know you’ve got time to use it before it goes off, or at least that you need to put it in the freezer as soon as you get home.
Learn to Cook in Smaller Portions
There are things that most of us cook too much of. Pasta and rice can be big culprits. Follow recipes carefully and weigh out ingredients, and you’ll waste less.