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10 Easy Breezy Ways to Cut Your Food Waste

by Tasha Gartside

1) Shop at local greengrocers or markets

Make regular trips to an independent greengrocer or farmers’ market where you can buy loose fruitand veg free of plastic. If there’s one you pass on your way home from work every day – ideal. Youmight just get to know your grocer, call them a friend and ask them advice. Another perk: you’ll most likely be buying more local, seasonal food.

2) Don’t overbuy

Don’t be tempted by supermarket deals – they’re a trap to lure you into buying more than you need. Buying in bulk is seen to be “convenient” but it leads to more food waste. If a recipe needs only oneonion, buy one onion. Also, wait until items are used up before buying more.

3) Plan plan plan ahead

Simple: plan out your meals, make a list of what you need and stick to that list at the shop (no strayplucking from shelves). Keep track of what you’ve bought. As WRAP (Waste & Resources ActionProgramme) suggests, you could take a fridge and cupboard “shelfie” to help you remember.

4) Love your leftovers

Made too much dinner? Save and eat – that’s the motto. Take it to work for lunch the next day or put itin a transparent container for the fridge, or, if you won’t get round to eating it, the freezer. Alternatively, designate a day of the week as leftover dinner day. Leftover top tip: label containers clearly with name and date.

5) Be freezer friendly

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a “pause button” for food? Thanks to technology, there is – yourfreezer. And it’s more versatile than you think – chips or bread are only the freezer foundations. If salad or veg is starting to go off, freeze it for later to make a soup or smoothie. Too much pasta sauce? Freeze it. Bananas going brown? Slice them up and freeze them for a quick, healthy ice cream recipe.

6) Save your scraps

It’s possible to salvage so much food for other uses. For example, keep your onion skins, carrot peelings, celery ends etc for making delicious veggie stock. The same applies to meat carcasses for meat stocks. Other things like chickpea water or pasta water can be used to thicken sauces (which the Italians have been doing for centuries).

7) Treat use-by and expiration dates as guidelines

No one wants to eat mouldy food – it’s bad for your health. But don’t take the dates on supermarketitems as gospel. Use your senses (bodily and common) – if there’s no mould or funny colour and it stillsmells and tastes fine, then it’s definitely edible.

8) Use helpful apps

There are lots of websites and mobile apps around to help you reduce food waste. Olio encourages food-sharing by connecting those with surplus food to others nearby in need of food (think neighbourly sharing and caring). WRAP has lots of helpful info. Karma advertises unsold food from shops, cafes and restaurants and makes it available to app users at a reduced price. Too Good To Go allows you to rescue surplus food and meals.

9) Get composting

Food that goes to landfill has a big impact on the environment – without proper oxygen, as it decomposes it releases greenhouse gases such as methane. Ideally, all food will be eaten by either humans or animals, but if not composting is the magic solution. Composting fruit, vegetables and other foods creates nutrient-rich fertilizer and energy for plants.

10) Donate to food banks, farms or charities

Before throwing away excess food, consider donating it to charities like City Harvest, your local food bank or even scraps to farmers who will happily accept bits and pieces for feeding to their animals.

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