Our Alliance Online marketing manager, Mike Hardman, outlines his top tips for reducing your food waste after the coronavirus lockdown and beyond.

Food waste has long been a huge problem in the UK, with WRAP estimating that we send around 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste to landfill each year. This is an improvement on the 8.1 million tonnes that were thrown away back in 2007, which means we’re definitely heading in the right direction. But things are improving very slowly, and this just isn’t sustainable.

Due to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown and tiered restrictions, we’ve all been spending far more time at home, which means we’re buying and cooking a lot more food in our own kitchens. If you’ve noticed that you’re throwing away more food than normal, or this time in lockdown has simply given you some time to think about how you would like to live responsibly, you might be looking for ways to reduce how much food waste your household is creating. So, here, I’ll be offering my top tips, which you can use both during lockdown, and once this crisis has blown over.

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Make sure you always know what you have

It might seem obvious, but the first step towards reducing your home’s food waste is to ensure you always know what’s in your fridge and cupboards. So, regularly browse all of your different shelves, and take not of any best before dates that might be fast approaching. Not only will regularly checking what you have on hand ensure that you use everything up before it goes off, but it will also reduce the risk of you overbuying certain ingredients. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve found ourselves with more milk, bread, or eggs than we can possibly get through before they take a turn for the worse.

You could even start just having a rolling shopping list, which you add to whenever you completely run out of things. This way, you won’t stock up on things that you’ve actually got plenty of, because you’ll know exactly what’s at home.

Don’t be tempted to stockpile

I know that we’re in a very strange time when we’re only supposed to be leaving our homes for essential trips to the supermarket and some exercise. So, it can be tempting to buy huge quantities of food while you’re out, “just in case”. But, while some shops are still struggling with shortages of certain high-demand items like plain flour, most of the supermarkets and now well-stocked again. So, there’s really no need to be stockpiling the likes of eggs and bread. In fact, it’s likely these products will be out of date before you finally make it through your supply.

Instead, make weekly meal plans full of dishes that will ensure you get all of the nutrition you need. You can tick off any of the ingredients you already have, then buy the correct quantities of those you need. Not only will this reduce the amount of food waste you’re likely to send to landfill, but it’ll save you money too!

Store ingredients and leftovers properly

If you’re finding that the ingredients you have on hand are spoiling a lot quicker than you expected, it might be that you’re storing them incorrectly.

Firstly, make sure you fridge is running at its optimum temperature, which should be below 5°C. Ideally, you should also keep raw and cooked foods raw, so try to save the higher shelves for ready-to-eat items, and store the likes of raw meat below. It’s also important to remember that you should let leftovers cool down completely before putting them in the fridge, or they could cause the internal temperature to rise.

Remember that you should be cleaning your fridge out on a regular basis, too — every three months or so will help to keep everything fresh, and protect your fresh produce from germs that could cause it to spoil sooner than it otherwise would.

If you’re looking for ways to live more responsibly, tackling food waste in your home is a great place to start. Take these tips on board to reduce how much food you’re sending to landfill, and they could help to save you a bit of money too!

How to Reduce Your Household's Food Waste
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How to Reduce Your Household's Food Waste
Our Alliance Online marketing manager, Mike Hardman, outlines his top tips for reducing your food waste after the coronavirus lockdown and beyond.
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Alliance Online
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