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Stop binning: 5 winning ways to avoid food waste

We waste approximately two billion tonnes of food worldwide each year, and yet it is predicted that 870 million people do not have enough to eat. Throwing food in the bin is not only wasteful but detrimental to our environment, as our left over scraps or gone off food waste often end up in landfill.

Image courtesy of North Devon Council

Wasting food also drains the world’s resources, because the energy expended in the growing, transporting and selling processes also goes to waste. Enough is enough. Here are some simple, but effective ways to combat waste in your home. Use them if you want to save money, save food and save the environment.

If you'd like more information on preventing food waste check out campaigns such as Love Food, Hate Waste.

Write a list

At the beginning of each week plan your meals and buy the amount of food you need. When visiting the supermarket, do NOT leave the house on an empty stomach - you’ll end up picking up much more than you actually need. Instead, take a list with you, stick to the list, and don’t be tempted by supermarket offers.

Give tired fruit and veg a new lease of life

If your bananas have seen better days, they will still taste perfect in banana bread, or if you are feeling even more adventurous, try making banana ice cream. Put apples in a crumble, or berries in a smoothie. Just because your fruit is black or soft, does not mean it is destined straight for landfill. Left over vegetables can be made into a healthy and nutritious soup. You will be amazed at the delicious and creative things you can make with fruit and vegetables that are seemingly past the point of no return.

Make the most of your freezer

Anything that can’t be eaten today will taste the same defrosted in a couple of weeks. If you overcook, place the leftovers into freezer bags or tubs and save cooking on a busy evening in the future. If you have potatoes that need using, whip them into shape in the form of mashed potatoes and leave them in the freezer for a rainy day.

Eat communally

If you live with others, combine any leftovers with them. You’ll be surprised at the interesting combinations you can make. Eating with others will give you more than good conversation and a full belly however. It ensures that your weekly trip to the shops is a little later than normal, meaning less hassle, and keeping your pockets a little fuller too.

Store food correctly

Looking after the food you have is a boring but necessary way of preventing food waste. Make sure you store open food in tubs, or cover them with cling film to keep them air tight. Make sure your fridge is at the correct temperature and try to arrange it so that things to be used are closer to the front. Outside of the fridge, keep bananas separate from the rest of your fruit as it will make them ripen more quickly, and always store food in the way that the packaging advises.

By Camilla James

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