In Ireland, there is over 1 million tonnes of food waste disposed of each year. This is approximately the weight of ten thousand space shuttles or 100 Eiffel Towers! This is simply shocking, and that is only for Ireland. We need to all do what we can to bring this figure down and there are many ways to do this. Today I want to share 10 of the easier steps that each of us could take to reduce our household food waste.
1. Meal Planning
Plan your meals for the week ahead and make a Shopping List based on those meals
2. Avoid Impulse Buying
When you’re at the supermarket, avoid going ‘off-list’. If you see something new that you’d like to try, make a note to include it on next week’s meal plan
3. Make Meals that can be Used in Multiple Ways
For example, a Bolognese can be served with pasta, but can also be turned into a Shepherds Pie or a Chili Con Carne. A Roast Chicken can be used for a rice or pasta dish, soup, sandwiches or salad
4. Buy Exactly what you Need
Buy the quantities you need – don’t buy a large bag of Carrots if you only need 3. Buy the exact amount of Bananas you know you will eat.
5. Freeze Prepared Veg rather than let it go to Waste
Sometimes it is not possible to buy only the quantity that you need, or it may be more economical to buy a larger pack. Often we buy Celery and only need a couple of sticks, chop up and freeze the rest so that you have it ready for the next time you need it
6. Keep a Note of Everything you have at Home
Be aware of what’s already in your Freezer, Fridge or Pantry. This helps to avoid unnecessarily buying things on the double. Keep an eye on the expiration dates to ensure everything gets used
7. Have Leftovers for Lunch or Freeze them
If you have leftovers from dinner, consider having them for the next day’s lunch. You could also freeze the leftovers for a quick dinner on days when you don’t feel like cooking
8. Store Food Properly
Make sure open packets are stored airtight – keep a roll of sellotape close by and use it for pasta bags and biscuit/cracker packets. Learn which Fruit & Veg should be left out versus in the fridge. Use airtight reusable lunchboxes for baking supplies or open packs of cheese and ham.
9. Share Dishes when Eating Out
If you’re eating out; consider sharing meals. 1 starter, 1 main course and 1 dessert between 2 means the chance of food waste is less, and you’ll keep costs low. I love starters, so would even suggest choosing 3 starters to share rather than a main meal
10. Monitor what you throw away
Over a few weeks, keep a notepad in the kitchen and write down every food item that gets wasted. There may be things you are buying that you don’t get to eat, or only partially eat. You may find your portion sizes are too big. If it helps to tie each item to an amount, you would likely be shocked at how much money is being wasted on uneaten food