Let’s put an end to Britain’s throwaway culture!
UK households throw away a staggering 24 million slices of bread every single day – that’s a million pieces every hour! But bread is – quite literally – just a small slice of a much larger food waste problem plaguing Britain.
Food waste costs households around £10 billion each year, but it’s not just our bank balances suffering, it’s our planet too. By being more savvy with saving food, you can help to slow down global warming and deforestation, and limit unnecessary waste.
Three ways you can be more resourceful (and less wasteful) with your food include:
1. Shopping small
If you load your shopping trolley with perishables like fresh fruit and veg during the weekly shop, there’s a good chance some of it will actually have gone off by the time you get to the end of the week.
Instead, try a smaller shop more regularly. Waitrose’s Food and Drink Report 2017-18 suggests consumers are shunning the big weekly shop in favour of more regular visits to the supermarket – as often as once per day. Shoppers polled said smaller shops help them to better control over-buying and waste, as they only buy food as and when they need it.
2. Getting creative with leftovers
Think before you throw! Lots of food that ends up in the bin could have been put to good use in the kitchen. Leftover veggies from your roast? Make bubble and squeak the next day or turn them into a hearty, homemade soup. Bananas on the turn? Mash them up for a banana loaf or freeze them and use in smoothies. Salad leaves feel limp? Toss them in a wok and stir-fry with some garlic and soy sauce. And if you have some leftovers you simply don’t know what to do with, you can often freeze them until you do!
3. Donating your food
Food banks provide a lifeline not just for the homeless, but for individuals and families living on the breadline, of whom there are thousands in the UK. You can cut back on waste while doing your bit to stop food poverty by donating any unwanted ingredients to a local food bank or joining your Community Fridge Network, where surplus food is shared between people in a community. Many of the big name supermarkets have collection points, too.
Other areas where you can cut back
Limiting waste doesn’t just start and end in the kitchen, so think about how you can cut back in other areas of your life too. A couple of examples include:
We all like to revamp our wardrobes every now and then, but what do you do with the clothes that didn’t make the cut? Rather than throwing them away, you could get crafty with the material (check out this fab upcycling challenge); or give them a new home by donating to charity, dropping off at a clothes bank (here’s how to find your local textile/clothes recycling point), or organising a clothes swap with people in your area via a dedicated Facebook page.
More than 20,000 tonnes of batteries head to UK landfill sites every single year, where they leak nasty toxins that are damaging to the environment and our health. If you want to stop contributing to this problem, or at least limit your impact, make the swap from single-use batteries to rechargeable ones. Reusable batteries can last for years, helping you to save cash and the planet in one go.
It’s about time we all did our bit to help put an end to Britain’s throwaway culture – where will you be making changes first?