In this post, you will find 6 of the best ways to start reducing your food waste in your home. It’s something that we tend not to think about but by reducing our food waste you could also save yourself money in the process too.
Do you find that you have a mountain of leftover food at the end of each week that isn’t eaten? Or do you use your leftovers? Is good food going to waste and being thrown away? And how many of us check the expiration dates on the food items you use?
So since coming back from living in South Africa I have found that I have a new appreciation for food. There are certain foods that I really missed while living aboard and found difficult to purchase.
But there were also foods that were incredibly cheap and some that were very expensive in comparison.
However, this can make you incredibly creative with what you make or teach you how to stretch ingredients or learn how to make things yourself rather than buying them premade.
I was already good at making homemade stock, sauces, baked goods, biscuits, and bread.
I also learn food and cooking from a whole new cultural perspective and I was introduced to a wide variety of cooking methods, interesting dishes, and ingredients too.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, and bread were relatively cheap. While meat, seafood, cheese, and, homemade biscuits and treats were much more expensive.
I even made cakes and biscuits as well as other items to help us when money was tight.
Food Waste In The UK Compared To The USA
Even though we have reduced the amount of food that we waste, there is still more that we could do to reduce this amount further. According to The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation 1.3 billion tonnes of food goes to waste worldwide each year.
This equates to one-third of all food that is produced worldwide. Broken down into plates of food this would be the equivalent of three trillion meals.
There are a few easy changes that you can implement into your daily routine that will help you to reduce your food waste at home.
In an article by The Eco Expert, it states the following facts:
- In the UK the average household wastes on average nearly 2kgs of food per day.
- The UK as a whole wastes over 26 tonnes of food every single day.
- Potatoes are top of the list when it comes to food waste followed by vegetables and salad items.
- This, in turn, means that as a country we create over 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas per year from wasted food.
- An astonishing 14 million tonnes come from edible food.
See more interesting facts here: Food Waste Facts and Statistics – The Eco Experts
Compare this to the United States. An article by RTS states the following insightful information on the growing implications of food waste.
- The USA waste nearly 40 million tonnes of food per year
- On average, American waste over a third of all food supplies
- Dairy is top of the list to be thrown away
- It is estimated that over 35 million people suffer from food insecurity in the US due to economical issues
Read the full article here: Food Waste in America in 2022: Statistics & Facts | RTS
The Biggest Food Waster
However, with a staggering 67 million tonnes of food waste, it is India that wastes the most food each year.
Check, Rotate & Reduce Food Waste In Your Home
You will find that on most products that you purchase there will be either the best buy date or expiry date. It is always a good idea to rotate your tins, herbs, spices, and dried goods on a regular basis.
As well as items in your fridge and freezer ensuring that older food items are used up before their expiry date. Also, make sure that you use your perishable foods up before they go past their best.
Some items could even be frozen to help them last longer until you have to need to use them.
Understanding food labels and food storage will also aid the amount of food that is wasted. As well as what food items can be kept at room temperature versus what needs or can be refrigerated or frozen.
If you are unsure about any food item then there is a very useful app called The Food Keeper App FoodKeeper App | FoodSafety.gov
This will help you understand how different types of food should be stored to maximize the quality, freshness, and shelf life of each food item.
Plan Meals To Reduce Food Waste In Your Home
Start by looking at what is leftover in your fridge, freezer, and store cupboards before you begin making your new weekly meal plan and shopping list.
Make a list of all the things that need to be used up and what dishes you could make with these items that need to be used.
From this list, you will see what you need to buy for your weekly food shop. As well as what you will need to stock up on.
This is then the base on which you can then start to make your meal plan for the coming week.
By planning out your meals you will avoid buying excess items and you will ensure that you have all the items needed for the week ahead.
It will also mean that you don’t need to pop to the shops for items that you may have forgotten as well as buy additional food items.
For more on how to meal plan check out How To Meal Plan For Your Family As A Beginner
By using any leftover items you will reduce your food waste and the money used to buy the original items.
I think there is a bit of a stigma attached to leftovers. Even though some foods can taste better the next day. Or some dishes were created from using leftover items of food.
One of my favorites is an old-fashioned dish called Bubble & Squeak but there are so many other dishes that use odds and ends of leftover food items.
Buying Habits That Reduce Food Waste In Your Home
Review your buying habits to reduce impulse buys. It is very easy to throw things in your trolley as you walk around the supermarket especially if you have the children in tow.
Making a list of what items you need before you go to the grocery store is a good place to start. If you have already planned out your weekly or monthly meal plan then this will assist you when you are shopping for your food.
Try and stick to your list. However, only deviate from the list if you see a special too good to miss. This could save you money in the long run.
Special promotions or reductions on meat and other food items can help to reduce your overall spending.
However, this only works if you know that you will use the items purchased and that you have space to keep the products you buy.
You can also use online shopping in the same way but you will also be subject to all of the special offers that the supermarkets encourage you to buy.
Remember it is only a good deal if you are going to use the special promotions on offer otherwise it’s just money thrown in the bin rather than down the drain.
For more on how to budget your food spending: How To Budget Your Family Food Shop As A Busy Mama
Learn To Love Your Freezer To Reduce Food Waste In Your Home
By learning to use your freezer more effectively you can also save money. You can freeze many items near their expiry date.
See the following post for more information here
If you are not afraid to do a bit of extra cooking each day or on set days then you can stock up your freezer with some easy batch-cooked meals that you can use throughout the month.
I talk about this more in The Benefits Of Batch Cooking As A Busy Mum
Batch cooking can reduce not only food waste but also the cost of meals too. If you find items reduced such as bread, meats, fish, vegetables, and cheese to name a few these can be bought and frozen for use when needed.
Get Advice From An Expert
Keeping up to date with what’s in season can help to reduce your food spending and also enable you to use more local produce from your local farmers and produce suppliers
Not only does this help our local farmers but what could be fresher and healthier for us to eat as well as it doesn’t have to travel far from farm to your table.
See more about Local Food Markets to visit in the UK.
Or check out Local Food Markets to visit in the USA The Best Food Markets Across the United States (theculturetrip.com)
Australia 10 of Australia’s Best Markets (theculturetrip.com)
Canada Canada’s Food Island (canadasfoodisland.ca)
The advice can come from Food Markets, Deli’s, and your Local Green Grocery or Butcher.
They have a wealth of information to share on the best ways to cook the products purchased along with what flavors to pair with them or serving suggestions for side dishes.
Make A Garden Composter To Reduce Food Waste In Your Home
You could also look at using a food caddy in your kitchen that can hold your vegetable scraps. These can then be transferred to a compost pile for your garden. They are a great way of reducing your food waste.
The compost bin will hold all of your food waste, as it decomposes and the food is broken down into organic matter.
Items such as vegetable peelings, fruit waste, tea bags, and crushed eggshells can all be put into your garden composter.
However, you should never put any dairy or meat products in your composter as this can attract pests as well as vermin.
The easiest way to make a garden composter is by using old pallets to make a square. Or you can purchase compost bins.
For more information on how to make a composter for your garden then take a look at The EdenProject and what they do for some great ideas.
How We Are Tackling Food Waste At Mama & The Word
We cook a minimum of 30 meals a month here at Mama & The Word. As well as taking pictures and some videos too of the food and products that we use.
Wherever possible we try and shop locally by using farmers’ markets, local butchers, and green groceries. We try our best to buy and cook seasonal produce as much as possible.
As this helps to reduce our food spend. It also helps local producers as well as cuts our carbon footprint as much as we possibly can.
We try to eat all the food recipes that we test. All of our waste peelings and offcuts from our recipes are put into our food composter.
Were possible we try and recycle as much packaging as possible. We always try to use up our leftovers by eating them for lunch or as snacks depending on the amount.
Or we will freeze foods for another time and portion them into containers.
Sometimes we can have kitchen disasters or a recipe can go wrong and some things can’t be saved from the bin but that’s just life.
I would love to hear of any other ways that you use to cut your food waste. Or have you found any other tips that help reduce your family’s food waste? As always I love to hear from you so let me know in the comments below.