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Zero Waste Week 2017 Day 5 – Food waste Friday

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Welcome to Food Waste Friday.

I have to admit, reducing food waste is my favourite topic of the week.

Why?

Because it affects us all.

Every one of us – regardless of income or lifestyle choices – needs to eat. And nearly all of us deal with food waste at some point.

For me, it’s a topic I need to keep revisiting.

I can have a few weeks or months of virtually no food waste, then bad habits creep back in and I fall off the wagon.

So let’s clamber back on that wagon together today and see what we can do to eliminate food waste once and for all.

Find your motivation

A question to ask throughout the week is ‘What is my big Why?’

Put simply, why are you here, reading this blog post?

Why do you want to reduce food waste?

Perhaps you’re fed up of wasting money. Maybe you feel guilty that you’re throwing edible food away while 1 in 9 people in the world go to bed hungry. Or perhaps you’re aware of some of the effects food thrown into landfill has on the environment and want to do your bit.

Whatever your motivation, keep it uppermost in your mind and, when you’re about to throw food away ask yourself “Is this taking me closer to, or further away from my goal?”

Plan your day / week

Knowledge is power and you’ll have more success if you know what’s coming over the next few days.

Take a look at your schedule for the next few days.

Do you have to get the kids somewhere quickly after school? Are you working late? Are family coming to visit?

All of these can give you clues as to where food waste might crop up.

If you’re rushing around or late home from work, it can be tempting to grab a takeaway. Meanwhile food is going off in the fridge.

Perhaps you always cook too much when people come to visit. If so, you can plan ahead and learn about portion control before they arrive!

Take an inventory

One of the best ways to save money is to shop at home!

Rummage through your cupboards, fruit bowl and fridge and you might be surprised at how much food you have.

Write a list of everything available to you and start to plan meals around the foods that might go off quickly.

Some people love to plan a whole week’s worth. Others, like me, prefer to plan ahead for a couple of days.

Zero Waste is all about finding the rhythms that work for you.

Shop with a list

Once you have your food inventory, you can plan your food shopping list for the rest of the week.

We often buy the same things week in week out, and it’s this that can lead to food waste.

You get home only to realise you already have the same item in the fridge, nearing it’s Use By date.

By writing a list based around your inventory, you’ll stop stockpiling; which can lead to waste.

The key to your shopping list is to a) take it with you and b) STICK TO IT!

Separate myths from facts

Use By dates are the only ones you need to adhere to from a health and safety perspective. Best Before are only a suggestion; which you’re free to ignore. You might find the colour, texture or taste changes, but this won’t be detrimental to your health.

In addition, make the freezer your friend. You can freeze items safely right up until their best before date. So if you find yourself with too much to eat, get it in the freezer to press the pause button on rotting food.

A call to arms

If you really don’t create any food waste, then why not start join Tearfund and start campaigning?

They say “Food is a precious gift. Yet today a third of all food produced will never be eaten. In a world where so many go hungry, this can’t be right. In the UK we throw away edible food worth £470 per household each year. Meanwhile a third of perfectly edible vegetable crops are discarded from our fields due to supermarkets’ strict cosmetic standards. This wasteful food cycle has a big carbon footprint, making climate change worse and leading to more droughts, floods and less reliable rain – which makes life harder for people in poverty. But together we can Renew Our Food. Call on your supermarket today to halve its food waste, and pledge to make the most of your food at home too. www.tearfund.org/foodwaste

What about you? What are your tips to reduce food waste?

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Rachelle Strauss

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