The theme for this year’s World Environment Day on the 5th June, is Think Eat Save: a campaign aimed at stopping food waste and food loss.
The campaign is aimed at reducing the 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is wasted each year globally (1), when 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry.
In the UK we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food each year – that’s about 120kg of food each, almost a third of that is fruit and vegetables worth about £680 (2) – much of which could be saved.
It’s bad for the planet, and costing UK households £billions.
Here are 5 ways to waste less food and save money courtesy of Nigel’s Eco Store:
1. Stop your fruit and veg going off
Fruit and vegetables emit harmless ethylene gas as they ripen, which speeds up the rotting process – especially when kept in enclosed spaces like your fridge.
The average UK family throws away £680 worth each year. “One third of food that is grown in the UK ends up in the bin,” says Nigel Berman, MD of Nigel’s Eco Store.
“Fruit and veg savers are small sachets that absorb ethylene gas, dramatically slowing the rate at which produce goes off, and double or tripling the storage life of fruit and vegetables.”
2. Keep your fridge at the best temperature
Incorrect storage is one of the biggest reasons we waste food. Keeping your fridge at the correct temperature can help food to stay fresh for longer. Your fridge should be kept below 5 degrees Celsius for optimum storage, use a fridge thermometer to help.
3. Use your freezer more
Using your freezer is a great way to make the most of your food, if plans change at the last minute, or if you make too much of something. Freeze in portions to make it easier to re-use. Use a frost-free anti-ice mat to ensure that the freezer compartment doesn’t get clogged up with ice which means less space for food (it’ll save energy too).
4. Make lists
Checking your cupboards and your fridge, and making a list before you go to the shops can help reduce the risk of buying too much of something you already have. Remember to take the list with you. Sometimes old fashioned methods are the most effective, like a kitchen chalk board (this one’s recycled).
5. Compost your leftovers
If you do have food which is going to be thrown away, try to compost it instead of putting it in the bin. This compost bin looks great and doesn’t have to be banished under the sink – use it for peelings, greens, tea bags and egg shells.
For something more heavy duty, use a Bokashi composter, it turns food ALL kitchen leftovers into odourless nutrient rich compost for the garden. This includes meat, fish, dairy products and cooked food too!
6. Keep your food in the right place
Nigel says “Many of us don’t store our food in the best place to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible. Bread is best kept in a cupboard or bread bin, fruit (except bananas) is best in the fridge, and potatoes should always be kept in a cool dark place. In order to protect our world, we need to do our utmost to look after what we have. Our food saving products show just how easy it is to help stop as much food going to waste, and will save you money.”
(1) UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
(2) Love Food Hate Waste