Tips for reducing food waste

Tips and advice for home

In order to waste less food you’ll need to address old habits, and cultivate some new ones. Try to not see this as a daunting task but an exciting opportunity! Managing our food, from buying the right amount in the first place, to making sure it doesn’t go off before you eat it, and confusion over food safety and portion sizing may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.

Whether you’re just beginning to address food waste at home or are a seasoned kitchen expert, you can learn a new trick and do more. Here are some tips and strategies to get you going.

For the Beginner

  • Do some meal planning for the week and write a shopping list.
  • Never shop hungry. Hunger can lead to overbuying or impulse buys.
  • Watch out for multi-buy deals. If you can’t get through it all, the money saved is money lost.
  • Get label-savvy. Remember that only ‘use by’ dates matter, while ‘best before’ dates can be ignored.
  • Make sure your fridge temperature is correct to make sure food stays fresh for longer. Contact us to receive a free fridge thermometer.
  • Use bag clips in the cupboard and freezer to keep food fresh for longer.
  • Use your freezer to the fullest. Many foods can be frozen to extend their life, and freezers use less energy when they are full.
  • Get to know your serving sizes.
  • Lunch is for leftovers. If you struggle to cook exact portions, plan to eat the leftovers the next day.

For the Savvy Saver

  • Got a smartphone? Then get the Love Food Hate Waste app to help you out whenever, wherever.
  • Use a whiteboard or a wall chart to write down everything that needs using up in the fridge and freezer. Get creative with your meals to see how much you can use up.
  • Count and compare. When shopping compare the cost and weight of loose and bagged items – you’d be surprised, but sometimes ‘deals’ are anything but!
  • Get smart on storage. For example, wrap salads and herbs in kitchen paper and keep in bags to make them last much longer. Check out Love Food Hate Waste Hints and Tips for more advice.
  • Not sure if it’s still good? Visit stilltasty.com, a brilliant site that lets you search for just about any food item, and tells you how long it lasts in the fridge or freezer. They even have an iPhone app.
  • Freeze twice. If a product is frozen raw at home, then thawed and cooked, the leftovers can be re-frozen. If you purchase it previously frozen (like some meat and fish) then only freeze it once.
  • Avoid freezer burn by minimising temperature fluctuations (e.g. make sure the door is kept closed and freezer is well loaded) and to ensure products are kept in air-tight packaging.
  • Milk products such as milk, yoghurt, cream and even shredded cheese can be easily frozen and used up later. Note that high-fat items like frozen cream are best used in soups or sauces.

For the No-Waste Expert

  • Want to get super organised and leave nothing to waste? Check out Money Saving Expert’s Complete Menu Plans Collection to find the right meal plans for you.
  • Start a “buy one get one free” group with a friend or neighbour. Shop for staples together and split the cost to get the savings on multi-buy items without overbuying.
  • Store a cooking apple along with your potatoes. The gasses given off by the apple suppress the growth of sprouts on potatoes. Even if the apple gets wrinkly, you can still use it later in a crumble or smoothie.
  • Revive wrinkly root veg by placing in a large bowl of ice cold water for a few hours. Carrots and beetroot will get crunchy enough to grate into salads.
  • Use up peels and rinds. Buy unwaxed lemons and freeze the zest for later use. Save parmesan rinds to use when making soup.
  • Keep a container in the freezer for scraps to make into stock, adding clean veg peels and meat bones. Once it’s full, boil it all up along with herbs and spices for a delicious homemade stock.
  • Pre-chop and freeze items like onions, raw meat or anything you have too much of and plan to cook thoroughly later. Just take out the amount you need, keeping the rest for later.
  • If you’re a compulsive composter, don’t leave home without a small container for banana peels and used tea bags. Just don’t forget to compost when you get home!
  • Take a Leftovers Week challenge – use only what you already have in your kitchen and see how long you can go without buying something new. If you’re the competitive type, get your friends and family involved.
  • Share what you know with others. You are an anti-waste warrior and your commitment is an inspiration to others!
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