In the UK we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of waste each year, which costs the average family around £50 a month (£680 a year) as well as harming the environment, according to Love Food, Hate Waste.
Love Food, Hate Waste is a campaign to raise awareness of the need to reduce waste, run by WRAP, funded by the government and aims to encourage and enable consumers and businesses to be more efficient in their use of materials and recycle more. It’s supported by restaurants, supermarkets, restaurant insurance providers, food suppliers and other people in the food industry. In turn, this helps reduce carbon emissions, minimise landfill and improve the environment.
We’ve all been there, putting leftovers in the fridge with an intention to finish it off, but before we know it, the food ends up in the bin. Here are a few tips to help save you money, waste less food and help the environment:
Best before, sell by and use by dates
Best before, sell by and use by dates can be confusing. The use by date is when food can be eaten up until the date given on the packaging, the sell by date is after which the goods should not be offered for sale and the best before date is a guideline suggesting when the food is at its best. Before buying the food, you should check these dates and understand what they mean.
If you cook too much food, put it in a freeze-proof container and pop it in the freezer. It can be handy for lunch or if you need a quick dinner.
Measure out ingredients
Something we’re all guilty about is cooking more food than we actually need. Measuring the ingredients before cooking can ensure that we minimise our waste. The ideal servings for one adult:
Roast potatoes: five small potatoes
Mashed potato: two heaped tablespoons
Dry pasta: 100g
Dry rice: Approx 75ml or ¼ of a mug
Plan your meals for the week, so you can buy what you need and avoid buying the ‘just in case’ food. You can also plan meals around the ingredients which are likely to go out of date first.
It also helps if you don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry, or you’ll most probably find that you’ll impulse buy food that you don’t actually need!