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Waste not want not

It’s the very first Food Waste Week and we’re celebrating  by making the most out of every scrap to eat well and reduce our carbon footprint.

bag of rotten tangerines

What is Food Waste Week?

WRAP is a charity that promotes and encourages sustainable resource use through product design, waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and reprocessing of waste materials.

In response to the importance of tackling food waste they have set up the very first Food Waste Action Week to run from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 March 2021.

This new event will bring together organisations linked to food from retailers to producers and all in between.

Why does it matter?

Wasted food is an issue that affects everyone – and the planet as it contributes 8–10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and around one third of food produced around the world is wasted. A shocking statistic given that people are going hungry.

WRAP created the successful Love Food Hate Waste campaign back in 2007 and since then have managed to contribute to reducing food waste in the UK from 11.2 million tonnes to 9.5 million tonnes each year.

Even so, that 9.5 million tonnes equates to around £1.9 and 25 tonnes of carbon emissions.

How can we waste less?

Start with what you buy

Buy what you need in quantities you can use before it goes off. If you can’t avoid buying more than you need, think about how to store it (can you freeze, pickle or preserver it some other way) to save it rotting in your stores.

Check out this website for some great and inspirational ideas (orange peel in water a household cleaning product?!) about how to waste less food and use your leftovers.

You can freeze things like herbs and spinach as they go a bit soft, as they soften in freezing anyway, and you can then use them in soups and stews.

Plan what you cook

Plot out a rough weekly menu so you make use of the things you have in, if a recipe calls for cream but only half a tub, think about cooking something else with the other half.

Do you need to open a jar of pesto for a dish? Plan for pesto pasta the next week so it won’t go off before the jar is finished. It can be easy to pop something in the fridge and forget about it.

Get wise to use by and best before dates

The use of dates on food items is to protect manufacturers from getting sued although it is also designed to keep you from eating things that might be bad for you. It does mean that they err on the side of caution and often things are perfectly safe to eat beyond the date on the packaging.

The use by date is less flexible than the best before date. But with best before dates, you can often use things  years after the date listed. Check out this article for some easy guidance.

Make use of leftovers

If you have leftovers at the end of a meal, freeze spare portions to take into work for lunches, or to pull out and defrost for a night when you don’t fancy cooking.

This BBC Good Food page has a range of recipes to inspire you with cooking leftovers into more delicious things to eat.

Creating less food waste is an easy way to save money, promotes eating well, and helps reduce your carbon footprint into the bargain.