Stop Food Waste Day – Waste not, want not…
27 April 2022
By RJ Heron
Today is Stop Food Waste Day, and were thinking about all the ways we can reduce food waste, and effectively dispose of it in sustainable way.
The scale of the problem
Over a third of all food produced globally ends up in our bins, with the UK throwing away 9.5 million tonnes of food annually despite 8.4 million people experiencing food poverty.
The Sustainable Healthcare Principles, outlined in our Green Plan ask that we respect resources; reducing the amount of food waste we generate we can contribute to this.
Within SCFT the food waste we generate onsite can be disposed of in food waste caddies within kitchen areas. This waste is then sent for anaerobic digestion – which uses microorganisms to covert food waste into gas (that can be used for fuel) and fertiliser.
Types of food waste
Food waste is categorised into avoidable and unavoidable. Avoidable food waste is made up of edible foods that are wasted due to becoming spoiled.
Whereas unavoidable food waste are items such as banana peels and egg shells that are inedible.
There are various ways that we can reduce or repurpose these types of waste to reduce the overall amount that ends up in the bin.
To reduce our avoidable waste we can simply buy less food items. Supermarkets will often run offers such as ‘buy one, get one free’ to encourage us to take home more food than we really need which can end up as waste. Just buy what you need each time you shop.
Plastic wrapped fruit and veg doesn’t necessarily make them last longer and usually encourages you to buy more than you actually need leading to waste. It is best to buy loose items and avoid the waste.
If you do find yourself with wilted/limp vegetables these can be revived by placing in cold water. Also vegetables such as spring onions, and lettuce will all regrow after being chopped with the root placed in water, here is a guide explaining how.
Composting is a great way to dispose of unavoidable waste, if you do not have the space to have your own composter or do not have a use for the compost, there are other options such as community composting schemes that run within Brighton & Hove.
It is also good to check if your local council offers a food waste collection service.
Homemade DIY organic fertiliser
If you are a gardener or have a collection of houseplants, your plants will thank you for repurposing banana skins, egg shells, & coffee grounds into homemade fertiliser. Checkout this link for a guide to repurpose your food waste.
Scraps & Leftovers
Getting inventive with leftover ingredients is a great way to reduce food waste. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out the Love Food Hate Waste website where you can type any surplus ingredient and find inspiration.
Freezing food is another great way to increase its lifespan, the Love Food Hate Waste website provides an A-Z of how to store all types of food as well as of the dos and don’ts of freezing.
Use by vs best before
Food packaging will always display either a use by or best before dates. The use by date indicates that the product is unsafe to eat, drink, or freeze after that date.
However, a best before date relates to food quality, meaning the food will be safe to eat after this date so long as it has been stored correctly.
Many retailers are now encouraging consumer discretion, encouraging the use of sensory ques such as visually checking or smelling food to determine if it is appropriate to eat, opposed to simply throwing it away in the first instance.