Avoiding Food Waste in the Home

7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK annually yet there are so many ways to use food that is perfectly edible. Cooking in bulk and then freezing the leftovers is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save the pennies at the same time. From an environmental perspective, not only do we like to repurpose ingredients otherwise destined for the bin to reduce our impact on greenhouse gases, but we also use alternatives to cling-film and ensure the use of eco-friendly cleaning materials within the kitchen to live a greener life.

Methane, the gas given off from rotting food, is 23 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  Many people worry about their carbon footprint without realising how much impact throwing old food away has.  We like to help people reduce their food waste, thereby reducing greenhouse gases which is why we’ve introduced a food waste class to our calendar.

Rosalind Rathouse, the founder of Cookery School at Little Portland Street commented:

“We’re concerned about the exorbitant amount of food that goes to waste in the UK so we ran a survey to our database asking what their biggest source of waste is. Using the findings from the survey, we have created a class dedicated to the browning banana, the surplus potatoes and other bits and pieces people find themselves throwing away at the end of the week. We want to teach clever, easy and creative ways to use up these ingredients to make tasty dishes whilst reducing food waste.”

Key findings from a survey we recently asked our database, included half of respondents admitting not to using stalks or peelings, as well as confessing to bagged salad, potatoes, pasta, bread, fresh herbs and milk regularly being thrown away. Our Waste Matters class demonstrates not only recipes from popular ‘to be binned’ ingredients but also how to recycle ingredients and what to do with leftovers.

Top 10 tips for reducing food waste:

1)Make a shopping list at the beginning of the week so that you avoid those spur-of-the-moment trips to supermarket on your way home. This massively saves you money and results in more considered purchases.

2)Don’t dish out too much on to your plate. Leftovers are a lot more appetising when they can be taken out of the saucepan and not scraped off a plate!

3)Freeze leftovers to extend the shelf life and contain the nutrients in the dish. If you cook in bulk at the weekend, it will save you time and money throughout the rest of the week.

4)Use your bananas for banana bread! This is such a nifty and delicious way to use up the browning fruit in your bowl. See our recipe below.

5)Store food in the right place. For example, make sure you refrigerate items that need to be kept cool in order to prolong shelf life of the products.

6)Remember that sell-by-dates are just guidelines – they are not mandatory. Tesco will scrap “confusing” best before dates on nearly 70 fresh fruit and vegetable products in its latest move to reduce food waste

7)Keep track of what you throw away so that you can make a mental note to buy less of that item next time.

8)Be creative in your kitchen! Think outside the box when cooking with leftovers and don’t be afraid to throw ingredients together that you wouldn’t normally mix.

9)Add old food to your compost heap – it’s great for growing herbs and veg in your garden or balcony.

10)Use as much of each product as you can. For example, if making chicken, use the bones for broth. If cooking with broccoli, add the stalks to a smoothie instead of throwing away.

If you have any additional tips do let us know on Twitter or Facebook.