At some point or another, we all waste food whether we like it or not. Maybe we bought too much bread, let the fruit go mush, or cooked way too much food. It happens to the best of us.
Did you know wasted food is one of the leading culprits of climate change? When we waste food, we cause unnecessary carbon emissions through the resources used to produce, transport and supply it in your local supermarket or corner shop.
According to Stop Food Waste Ireland, a typical household in Ireland throws away between €400 and €1000 annually. That's a hefty sum of money thrown away each year. This includes the usual culprits of stale loaves, leftovers, wilted salad, sour milk, and fruits that have gone off.
Here's the good news, as reducing your food waste at home isn't that hard. You can save hundreds a year by following these simple steps:
Before you do your weekly shop, decide what meals you will be making for each day of the week, including breakfast and lunch. It is one of the most effective ways of not only reducing your food shopping bill but helps reduce food waste.
Make a list
Now that you know what meals are on the menu, check your cupboards before hitting the shops and find out what food you need to buy. The chances are you may already have half of the ingredients, or maybe you can substitute with ingredients you already have.
Think about how you shop
If you buy in bulk, do you use it all each week? For meat, consider going to your local butcher, which allows you to purchase the portions you need. If not, befriend the freezer. Buy frozen vegetables and meat so you can use smaller amounts at a time and avoid letting food go to waste.
Get a compost bin
Composting is an excellent way of keeping organic food waste out of the landfill, but it is also a great way of seeing what food you are throwing out each week. For example, if you notice you are putting a lot of bread in it, you know to buy half pans in future.
How you store your food can have a significant impact on its life. For example, when you do your weekly shop put the new items to the back of the cupboard to ensure older foods are consumed first. You must keep the original packaging to help identify foods, cooking instructions and portion control.
It might sound silly to some, but befriend your freezer and use it as intended. Freeze leftovers for a later date, including vegetable peels to make stock or soup at a later date. Bread, cheese, fruit, boiled eggs and nuts freeze well. It may be useful to invest in small containers for easy storage.
If you're finding your child's lunch box is coming home untouched, then you need to reevaluate what you're putting in there. Invest in a sturdy leakproof container with small compartments to allow portion control, better choice, and to stop snacks from getting soggy.
For more information and tips to help reduce household food waste visit www.STOPfoodwaste.ie.