We rely on an army of farmers and major distribution routes to produce our food and yet we waste 6.5 million tonnes of it every year in the UK. More than half of this is edible, not eggshells or bones.
Saving food definitely saves money, but also helps to slow down global warming, reduces water consumption, leaves more nutrients in soils, provides more space for biodiversity and reduces energy use. Energy is used to grow the products, package them, transport them to your house, and then to cook them, and this is true whether the food is grown locally or in another country. All food waste has used up this energy to no purpose and then can create more greenhouse gases after disposal.
The waste hierarchy asks us to think about avoiding waste before considering reuse, recycling, transforming and finally disposal of our waste materials. Food waste is one of those areas where the waste hierarchy really comes into its own. And avoiding food waste will definitely save you money.
6.5 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every year
- Make the most of your leftovers – take it for lunch or turn it into a new meal for tomorrow
- Plan your meals ahead of time.
- Check your cupboards and write a list before you go shopping
- Resist the multi-buy offers unless you are sure you can use it all.
- If you’re not going to use it in time, freeze it or give it away to a neighbour or on a food-sharing app.
The Love Food Hate Waste campaign contains abundant material to help plan the shopping, use up leftovers and find new recipes for that odd collection of stuff in the fridge. Perhaps the most useful is their A-Z guide on the best storage method for different foods, whether freezing is possible, how to keep things fresher for longer and ideas for using up bits and pieces. It also tells you how long you can safely keep things after the “best before” date has passed – unlike “use by” dates, these are only guides.