Words by Natalie Verdin-Woodward
So, we all know food waste is bad. Quite often we don’t think about the further implications than just feeling guilty, we’ve all thrown out food we’ve left sat in the fridge and forgotten about. My food waste seems to have increased since my eldest entered toddlerhood, she went from eating everything and anything to only wanting things with dip-dip (ketchup) or from the beige Pantone selection, I like to call it freezer-tapas. Many a home cooked dinner has gone to waste, thankfully my youngest is at the human bin stage and so will happily live on toddler discards.
BUT my other crime is even worse - going shopping without a list, or hungry, when the bread aisle takes a beating. The no-list shopping can see you throw £60 at a cashier only to get home without anything that works as a full meal. It’s a waste of money, time and odd food you never get round to using. An estimated one-third of all food produced goes to waste, that could be enough calories to feed every undernourished person on the planet.
That’s why I did some research into what is actually in season in the UK month-by-month. less food waste, less guilt, less money spent and as it turns out a whole lot less environmental damage too.
The scary facts are in and the UK’s food waste racks up to 1.9 million tonnes of surplus food a year. Wasted food is also wasted energy, think of all the water it takes to grow it, the man-power it takes to harvest and (annoyingly package) it to get it to a supermarket. Any wasted food that ends up in landfill and goes on to produce methane, a greenhouse gas. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of its impact on global warming.
So what can we do about it?
Here’s a few little lifestyle tweaks you could be making:
Sounds logical but it really is the key!
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Do NOT go to the supermarket unarmed else you’ll come out with a Peppa Pig book, some tomatoes and a rogue fruit you’ve never heard of.
Meal Planning is key here, if you go in with a list you’ll be quicker and only pick up things that will create actual meals. The planning part can take an age so unless you’re in your element trawling cook books and websites then maybe think about a new way of planning. Our favourite bags are Mary Poppins like and still look stylish, they’re also GOT’s certified :)
Have it delivered
If you don’t have the time or commitment to get the cookbooks out every week then this could be the option for you. I’ve been really impressed with Gousto, especially by the 10 minute meals selection, I always seem to learn something new and I like their drive to reduce packaging and use sustainable materials. If you fancy trying them with 50% off your first box click here.
No longer the inferior option, having a selection of fruit and veg in the freezer means you’ll never get caught out. In some cases it’s actually better than buying it’s fresh counterpart! For example peas are frozen within two hours of harvest and retain all the natural vitamin C, whilst frozen blueberries have a higher concentration of vitamin C than fresh ones.
Store Food Properly
Keep foods sealed in containers to avoid excess bacteria or oxygen from spoiling them. You’ll keep fruits and veg for longer if you avoid storing them together as fruit makes our veggies ripen faster. Use our cotton mesh produce bag to help wick moisture and keep produce dry. Any excess moisture will make for a mould playground.
Also think about plastic-free clingfilm options, we love our reusable beeswax wraps.
Get creative with the leftovers - soups and/or stocks can be made from scraps. I am not a cook but a quick google brings up a host of ideas. Here’s an additional tip, if you have any friends with a new baby don’t think you need to buy a present they will rip your arm off for a home cooked meal if you make too much!
Food that has to travel across the world to get to your plate has a much higher impact on our environment and your pocket. Check out the list of seasonal produce that I put on the Big Picture Collective instagram and my blog the 1st of every month.
If you can’t prevent, reduce or donate wasted food, composting is the next best option. Rather than food going to landfill where it degrades in a non-positive way causing methane gases, sending food scraps to a compost will help make healthy soils. Handy too.
This is just to name just a few! According to ReFED, educating consumers about food waste could prevent 2.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions - now that’s worth a bit of time planning before running out to the shops!
Natalie Verdin-Woodward is the founder of Big Picture Collective, a planet-friendly lifestyle blog and shop offering sustainable everyday, beautiful products. She has two daughters, who are two and one year-old (yes that was quick!) and two cats - she’d tell you the cats are harder work.
Say HI at Big Picture Collective on instagram, BigPictureCollectiveNatalie on Facebook or visit at www.bigpicturecollective.com
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