Tuesday 26 January
by Mika Moriyama
In February, the Salisbury Centre’s Living Lighter project hosted a workshop called Love Food Hate Waste delivered by Changeworks. The session covered the scale of the food waste issue, the impact it has, as well as practical tips to prevent food waste and save money at the same time.
Since then I have been paying closer attention to my food waste, and trying a couple of the things we learnt about prevention and storage.
I’ve known for a long time that food waste is a huge issue but every time I hear the statistics, I am still shocked! ⅓ of the world’s food is wasted and in Scotland, almost 61% of this waste comes from households. This costs the average household £437 a year, and of course the huge amounts of energy and water that go into the food production, distribution, storage and cooking process are all wasted too. This environmental impact is massive: if we cut out all food waste, the associated reduction in carbon emissions would be the same as if we took 1 in 4 cars off Scotland’s roads.
So what leads us to waste so much food? Love Food Hate Waste states that it boils down to 4 reasons:
There are so many tips and tricks out there for reducing your food waste, and not all of them may be relevant to you. Checking the cupboards and writing grocery lists to avoid overbuying (or forgetting!) was something I did already. And making big portions was something I did intentionally to have a packed lunch for the next day ready to go!
The other two reasons (date labels, freezing) were the ones I needed to work on. Here are my favourite tips I’ve found and tried:
Food date labels
There are 3 types of dates you might see on packaged food: ‘Use by’, ‘Best before’, and ‘Display until’.
Vegetable scrap stock
When I looked at my food waste bin, most of it was scraps from vegetables: carrot ends, tough stalks from herbs, wilted greens, onion skins, etc. But all of this can be saved and turned into a vegetable stock to use for soups, risotto, and stews.
Here’s a more extensive recipe, same principle 🙂
Milk is one thing that commonly gets wasted, especially when you only use small amounts for things like tea. Turns out you can freeze milk in its plastic bottle, or freeze small portions in an ice cube tray for tea and coffee.
Freeze overripe bananas and use in smoothies, or to make banana bread. Or blend up frozen banana to make ‘nice cream’ (a list of recipes and combinations is here)! Just make sure you peel bananas before you freeze them.
Baked goods are another commonly wasted food. While you can freeze bread to toast later, if you have let it get too stale, just blitz in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. You can then freeze in a container until you want to use them for cooking.
There are my favourite tips but there are so many ways you can prevent food waste. Let us know if you have some other great tips! If you want to explore more about how our food choices affect our carbon footprint, why not come along to the Food session in the ‘What can I do about climate change?’ workshop series we are hosting online on the 4th June?
Check out Love Food Hate Waste for lots of information, tips, and recipes.
Feature image from Unsplash.
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