So September has, is and will be a busy month for waste and recycling campaigns but that’s brilliant, as hopefully by the end of it all, we’ll have shared just about all our knowledge, handy tips and great contacts with you!

The Waste Less Live More Campaign is all about getting people to rethink the way they live, reducing their environmental impact whilst increasing their own healthy lifestyle and well-being. All sounds great but what does that actually mean? Well this year, the campaign is particularly focusing on Food Waste.

In the UK, we throw away around £17bn worth of food each year which is linked to around 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases![1] The Waste and recycling advisory body says 4.4m tonnes of household food waste thrown away in 2015 could have been eaten [2]. In monetary terms, this means that on average each UK household is throwing away around £470 worth of food…[3]. So to not only help protect the environment but to also save you a few pounds, we’ve put together a list of our handy tips to prevent food waste!

Waste bin

Tip 1 – Make a shopping list with planned meals for the week. This way you’ll only buy what you need, knowing it will be used during the week.

Tip 2 – Learn to love leftovers. Leftovers can be frozen or stored in containers in the fridge saving you the effort of having to cook a meal on another day. Meals can be safely stored in the freezer for up to a year depending on food type; check out this website for guidance.

Tip 3 – Buy loose/unpackaged items and store them correctly. Most people don’t know that apples keep best in the fridge rather than the fruit bowl, that tomatoes store best at room temperature or that onions shouldn’t be stored with potatoes. Click here for a useful site to find out how to store foods and keep them fresh for longer.

Tip 4 – Check your fridge and understand the difference between ‘use-by’ and ‘best before’. Most people’s fridges are set the wrong temperature, so check it it set between 1-5⁰C. When it comes to deciding if food has ‘gone-off’, it’s good to firstly understand what ‘use-by’ and ‘best before’ actually means. The ‘use-by’ date indicates a date by which the food may become unsafe to eat. The ‘best before’ date simply indicates a date by which time the food item may not be at its absolute best, either in texture or flavour but this does not mean it isn’t perfectly enjoyable to eat! I’d also recommend using your own senses too; does the item smell off, appear off or mouldy and how has it been stored are all things to consider before binning. Also remember to consider freezing foods before their ‘use-by’ date to extend their lifespan!

Tip 5 – Use reusable containers to keep food fresh for longer. Do away with the un-recyclable plastic packaging and use reusable containers instead. Air tight washable containers are perfect for leftovers, meat and certain vegetables and fruit. The containers can be lined with a cotton towel or tissue and left open in the fridge for things like berries. They’re also handy for lunches on the go!

Tip 6Purchase a Green Johanna from Great Green Systems! A hot composter, the Green Johanna recycles all kinds of waste food – even cooked food, bones, meat and fish – into natural organic compost. You’ll never need to put wasted food into your black bin again!

Simply install the Green Johanna in a shady, sheltered spot and fuel with a few centimetres of garden waste. Plus, if you live in Wiltshire, pop your postcode in and you’ll get it for the reduced rate of £44, discounted from £108.90!

After all this talk of food, why not try a few of these brilliant recipes below, all using food scraps, leftovers or commonly wasted foods:

- Make your own vegetable stock from common kitchen scraps and freeze it for future cooking.
- Cook up a batch of soup from leftovers, including curries, roast dinners or forgotten vegetables past their best.
- Bananas are one of the most wasted fruits. Use over-ripe bananas up in one of these yummy sweet treats.
- Put that stale or leftover bread to use! Older loaves can easily be used for breadcrumbs, toast or croutons or the all-time favourite Bread and Butter Pudding.

If you find yourself staring at a leftover or past-their-best food item and don’t know what you can possibly make with it, check out SuperCook’s website to find recipes you can make with what you have to hand!

Food Lovers Hate Waste

Check out Love Food Hate Waste for more food waste recipe ideas.

Finally, join the Waste Less Live More campaign this week by signing up for their top tips to help you reduce food waste and save up to £60 per week!

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Written by Chelsie, Education and Wellbeing Officer for the Waste Team