Wasting food is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Significant volumes of water, land, energy, time, and transportation go into producing our food, and yet in UK homes we waste 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year. That’s enough to make 10 million meals.
We all need to spread the word about how to waste less food. Everyone can make a difference, and something as small as saving your leftovers and encouraging friends and family to do the same means you’re doing your part.
To get involved, read our 10 top tips below and visit Love Food Hate Waste for more hints, tips and easy recipes to help make the most out of your food, while saving money and helping our planet.
1. It's a date!
‘Use by’ is about safety – food should not be eaten after this date (even if it looks/smells fine). ‘Best before’ is about quality – although food won’t be at top quality after this date, it will still be safe to eat for some time.
Always binning crusts and broccoli stems? Over two-thirds of the food we waste is perfectly edible, so using every edible bit of your food (‘complEATing’) is essential. Try leaving the skin on when you make mashed potato – this will save you time as well!
3. Chill the fridge out
The average fridge temperature in UK homes is nearly 7°C, but foods will last longer if they are kept at under 5°C. Not sure how to adjust your fridge temperature? Love Food Hate Waste can help.
4. Perfect portions
Hands up who has ever found themselves with far too much rice or pasta? It’s easy to do, but there are simple ways to cook the perfect amount. For example, a mug filled with dry rice will cook enough for four adults.
5. Snap a 'shelfie'
If you’re not a fan of shopping lists, take a picture of your fridge/cupboard shelves before you head to the shops instead. This will stop you from buying something you’ve already got at home.
6. Savvy storage
Most fruit and veg will stay fresher for longer in the fridge. The key exceptions are bananas and pineapple (keep these on the counter), and onions and potatoes (which should be kept in a cool, dark, dry place – like a cupboard!). Not sure where something should be stored? Try our Food Storage A–Z!
7. Freeze up to the 'use by' date
All foods with a ‘use by’ date, including meat, can be frozen right up to this date. This is especially helpful if your plans change at the last minute – before you order an emergency takeaway, check your fridge for anything that can be frozen for another day.
8. Ice-cube tray - the freezer hero
Too much milk, not enough time? Pour your remaining milk into ice-cube trays and freeze – this is the perfect amount for a brew. You can use ice-cube trays to freeze fresh herbs, too. Chop them up, pop them in the tray, and top up with oil, and then you have easy portions to add to the pan next time you’re cooking.
9. Use your loaf
Bread is another food that freezes beautifully. Put your sliced loaf in the freezer, and then you can pick out a slice at a time and toast straight from frozen. Extra tip: tap the loaf on the counter before you freeze it to stop the slices sticking together.
10. Unidentified frozen objects
Before you freeze your leftovers, label the bag/container telling you what’s inside and when you froze it.