About 20% of all food purchased is wasted. By avoiding food waste you can save money and help the environment by reducing your ecological footprint.

Avoiding food waste

Avoiding food waste is good for the planet and good for your pocket.

A study in Britain has shown that over 30% of all food purchased is wasted and about 60% of that could have been avoided. This means that 20% of all food purchased is unnecessarily wasted. A family that spends $250 a week on food, and wastes 20% of it, could save $50 a week ($2,600 a year) by avoiding the waste.

To avoid food waste:

1.    Check your use-by dates

Know what’s in your fridge, freezer and cupboards. Make sure you follow storage instructions and keep an eye on use-by dates.

The ‘Use By’ date indicates how long your food should keep safely if the storage instructions are followed. You should not buy or consume food when the ‘Use By’ date has expired and it is illegal to sell food with an expired ‘Use By’ date. However, check to see if the food can be frozen before it’s ‘Use By’ date if you need to eat it at a later date.

The ‘Best Before’ date is different, it indicates when the quality of the product may begin to change. It is not a safety issue. Food can be sold beyond its ‘Best Before’ date provided it is still fit for consumption. One exception is eggs – never eat eggs after the ‘best before’ date.

2.    Manage your portions

Plenty of food is thrown out because too much is cooked. Are you getting your portions right? Look online for advice on portions or experiment with portions and keep a note of what amount is best to use. If you cook too much don’t throw it out. It can be used to make delicious left-over meals.

3.    Plan meals and make shopping lists

Planning your meals is one of the most effective ways you can cut wastage and food bills. Start by checking your fridge, freezer and store cupboard to see what you need to use. Decide what meals you will prepare and make a shopping list of what you don’t have. Only buy enough for the meals you have planned.

4.    Look at storage options

Always follow the storage instructions on food labels. Fresh food will last longer in the fridge and even longer in the freezer. If you have food that is still good but you aren’t likely to use it before its ‘Use By’ or ‘Best Before’ date you could freeze it until you want to use it.

There are plenty of tips about storage at Love Food Hate Waste

5.    Left-overs

Being creative with your left-over food is the clever way to save some money. With a little bit of thought, you can create some delicious surprises from your leftovers – because reheated leftover food often tastes better.

Check the internet for recipes that use leftovers such as:

http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipe

6. Compost

Vegetable peelings and scraps should be thrown in the compost or worm farm.

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