Are you throwing money away? It is Zero Waste Week here in the UK and the theme is ‘One More Thing’ – what one more thing could you do to reduce waste in your home?
In the last fifty years, we have become a throw away society. Encouraged by the built in obsolescence in our household appliances we simply discard investments that would have last our mothers twenty years. Many of us can’t sew and clothing repairs are often so expensive that we replace items that could be quite easily repaired. And our busy lives mean that food waste is absolutely rife.
The Love Food Hate Waste website reports that about 7 million tonnes of edible food is thrown away from private homes each year in the UK, costing the average household nearly £60 per month. Statistics from other countries are equally shocking.
Not only does food waste harm the environment, it costs us money in our grocery budgets and our taxes. It’s also ethically disturbing as while we throw food away, others in the wider world – even in our own local areas – may go hungry.
So for Zero Waste Week my ‘One More Thing’ is to reduce food waste even further in my home.
Here are ideas to help you avoid food waste and save money.
Keep a tidy fridge
Keep an eye on fresh products and if you feel you won’t be able to use them by the use by date, pop them in the freezer straight away.
Use your freezer
You can freeze:
Leftover lemons, oranges and limes –Simply slice citrus fruit and freeze flat. Once frozen, transfer to sealed containers. Use to make water and soft drinks more interesting or to perk up a gin and tonic.
Most hard cheeses – grate and then freeze in sealed containers. Use straight from frozen as a garnish on pasta, pasta bakes and baked potatoes. The cheese melts into the hot main dish and tastes just the same as fresh.
Roast vegetables – Cool and freeze in serving size portions. Add to pasta sauces, couscous or rice.
Bread - Freeze half a loaf of bread so that you have one half to eat now and the other to toast for later. If fresh bread begins to go dry or stale, grate or process it to make bread crumbs which can then be frozen. You can also make croutons.
Don’t believe everything the supermarkets tell you
‘Use by’ dates are based on food hygiene rules and should be followed. On the other hand ‘best before’ dates don’t mean ‘rotten after’. It just means the product should be at its best if used before that date. Best before dates on fruit, vegetables and bread are pointless as it’s obvious when they are past their best.
Use leftover fruit and vegetables in baking
All of these delicious cakes were made from vegetables that were either leftover or past their best. Even if fruit and vegetables have gone a little soft, they are still fine for cakes and muffins. Try Butternut Pecan Loaf, Banana Rum Raisin Cake, Sweet Potato Bread or Chocolate Banana Bundt Cake.
Please join me in supporting Zero Waste Week. Choose the ‘one more thing’ you will do to further reduce waste in your home. Whether it’s recycling more, making do and mending, shopping locally, buying less packaging or like me, reducing food waste, your one more thing can make a real difference, both to the environment and your budget.