Food waste is a huge problem - it is estimated that we waste 1.3 billion tonnes of food each year across the world. This contributes 8% of global carbon emissions. Throwing food away means that all the resources and energy that is needed to produce, transport, and cook it is wasted too. It's also a waste of the money you spent on it!
So what can you do? Check out our Zero Waste Cooking Series for ideas of recipes that don't waste food, and read our tips below to help you reduced food waste at home!
- Plan your meals before you go shopping, so you are only buying ingredients that you need: this should reduce how much unused food you end up throwing out.
- While you are shopping, try to be less particular about which fresh produce you are choosing - people only wanting to take fruit and veg that is 'picture perfect' results in a lot of food waste from supermarkets (and even before it gets there). Some supermarkets have actually started selling "ugly" vegetables that are cheaper. They'll taste the same, even if they don't look as pretty.
- Make sure you know what different date labels mean - for example, food should not be eaten after its USE BY date, but most food is safe to eat after its BEST BEFORE date. This guide will help you understand the difference. When you’re shopping, have a look at these dates to see if there are any that should last longer than others.
- Check out Love Food Hate Waste’s extremely helpful A-Z guide on food storage, which includes where is best to store each item, whether it can be frozen, and lots more tips on keeping your food fresh.
- In line with the storage tips above, enjoy your leftovers! A great tip is to keep these in clear containers in your fridge or freezer so it's easier to remember what you have. You could also put labels on these tubs to remind yourself when it went into the fridge, so you use it in enough time before it is spoiled.
- Be aware of your portion sizes. Try not to put too much on your plate, as this will likely end up in some being scraped into the bin. Instead take a smaller portion, then if you want more you can go back for seconds! The rest can easily be stored as leftovers.
- If you are throwing food scraps or leftovers away, make sure you dispose of it in the proper food waste bin. Edinburgh Council collects this food waste to make fertiliser, and converts ito to make electricity. You can request a food waste bin from the council you don't have one (NOTE: This service is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic).