Zero Waste Lifestyle
If you want to live a Zero Waste lifestyle you should aim to tackle Food Waste as a priority.
How do we define Zero Waste?
The simple answer: The aim is to send nothing to a landfill. Refuse what you don’t want, reduce what you need, reuse as much as you can, send as little as possible to be recycled, and compost whatever you can’t.
The less simple answer: It’s really about redefining the system. We currently live in a linear economy where we take resources from the earth and then dump them in a giant hole in the ground. The goal of zero waste is to move to a circular economy where we write rubbish out of existence. The circular economy mimics nature in that there is no rubbish in nature.
Instead of discarding resources, we should be aiming to create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.
Food waste has become such an issue in the UK. It’s hard to believe but more than 8 million families in the UK struggle to put food on the table – and yet, around 10 million tonnes (household and commercial / retail) of food waste ends up in landfills each year.
It has been estimated that the average family in the UK wastes nearly £60 a month by throwing food away.
I remember when I was growing up we always had a Roast dinner on a Sunday which was followed on a Monday with cold meat and bubble and squeak from the leftovers and it was one of my favourite meals.
If we could all reduce our food waste it would not only save us money but also reduce unnecessary packaging waste. If we all make a few minor changes and start using up the food we buy, together we can make a significant difference.
10 Facts About Food Waste
- It’s estimated that 30 – 50% of food produced for human consumption is wasted globally every year.
- 25% of the world’s fresh water supply is used to grow food that is never eaten.
- Food waste in Europe alone could feed 200 million hungry people
- Food waste generates 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which accelerates global climate change
- 20% to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables are rejected by the supermarkets because they don’t reach their high cosmetic standards
- The average family in Great Britain wastes nearly £60 a month by throwing away food, in some cases almost an entire meal a day. A family with children waste approximately £700 a year on unused food.
- 18 – 20 million tons of food is wasted annually in the UK.
- An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards.
- Most people will admit to cooking or preparing too much food which results in it being wasted. Careful planning would eliminate this risk.
- The foods most commonly wasted are fresh produce such as vegetables and salad, and bakery products such as cakes and bread.
10 Simple Ways Cut Down on Food Waste
- Plan Ahead – Plan your meals in advance, including how you can use leftovers. Make a shopping list, I love adding things to my shopping list using my Google Echo. Stick to it when you go shopping. Why not download my free “Weekly Meal Planner”
- Fridge temperature – set your fridge at the correct temperature. Keep your fridge between 1-5°C – this helps you get the best from your food. If your fridge doesn’t indicate actual temperature, think about investing in a fridge thermometer.
- Store Food Correctly – Bread should be kept in a cool dark place like a bread bin or cupboard), bananas, pineapples, potatoes and onions should never be put in the fridge.
- Keep your vegetables fresh – Keep the stems of vegetables such as broccoli, celery and asparagus in water to help them stay fresh and crisp.
- Freeze fruit and veg – Freeze vegetables fresh fruit and veg that you can’t use in time. Some fruit and veg will lose their texture when frozen but they will be fine pureed or stewed.
- Revive past-it bread – You can put bread rolls in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up again. You can also make stale bread into breadcrumbs – either mix them with herbs and onions as a stuffing for chicken or to top baked fish or freeze the breadcrumbs for later use. Bread freezes well but place in a freezer bag for better results rather than just freezing it in the packaging it comes in.
- Be creative with leftovers – one of my favourite ways to use up leftover vegetables is to make “Bubble and Squeak”. Or why not make some soup, stilton and broccoli is very easy to make and tastes wonderful.
- Over ripe bananas – it’s easy to make banana bread or banana muffins which taste so much better with your almost black bananas.
- Learn to Preserve – Good Housekeeping has a great beginners Pickling Guide
- Compost – if you do have leftovers that you really can’t do anything with then compost them. Home composting transforms your kitchen and garden waste as well as small amounts of paper and card into a nutrient rich food for your garden. It’s easy to make and use. All you need to get started is a compost bin and some outdoor space. If you want to know more about how to compost check this – Home Composting
Food Waste Challenge
Why not set yourself a Food waste Challenge and see how much you can save over the next month and what creative recipes you can come up with for leftovers. You may even decide to try preserving something.
Remember every little helps. You can also download a handy meal planner to help you plan ahead.