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Top tips for reducing food waste at home

At Spare Snacks, we’ve rescued hundreds of tonnes of surplus produce since we started. We try to do our bit, but it’s a drop in the ocean, when you consider that over 1.6 billion tonnes of edible food is wasted globally each year. 

The consequences are catastrophic. The combined impact of this food wastage contributes 6.7% of all greenhouse gasses emitted. On top of this you have the wasted natural resources and land used to grow it and the energy to harvest, store and distribute it. And to make matters worse, despite the surplus of food, we have 690 million people going to bed hungry each night.

Having researched the issue of food waste for Unilever a few years ago, it’s fair to say Food Waste is a complex issue. Some of it we can’t control (market conditions, weather) but some of it we can, through our own behaviour.

One of the most solvable factors of food waste has to be the 9 millions tons of food we waste at home in the UK each year. 

Here are my top five tips and resources for reducing food wastage in your home - so hopefully we can all do our bit.

Get creative. Apple peel makes great apple cider vinegar, potato skins make delicious crisps, trying using chickpea juice to make mayonnaise. Bake the ends of your courgette, throw your veggie peelings and bones into a stock pot - not a bin. Use stale bread for breadcrumbs or beer. Every bit of food you cook can find a second life somewhere. Checkout the best leftover food recipes here

Plan ahead. The more organised you are, the less likely you are to waste. Take the time to plan meals and this will not only reduce waste but save money. Win Win. Why not take advantage of this amazing portion planner by Love Food Hate Waste, so you know exactly what you need.

Store food correctly. Improper food storage can lead to premature ripening and rotting. Separate certain foods that produce more ethylene gas from those that don’t.  Some foods that produce ethylene gas are: bananas, avocados, and tomatoes. Some foods that are sensitive to ethylene gas are potatoes, apples, and leafy greens.  Find out how to optimise your kitchen sustainability here.

Look Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste. All too often the best before dates are misleading (45% of us are confused). If in doubt give it a sniff, you’ll soon know if it’s still edible, and often it is. I can't be the only one who has eaten supposedly sensitive dairy products 2-3 weeks past their best before date! If you do have to throw it, then compost it (see below). Get more useful tips from our friends Too Good To Go and their amazing Look Smell, Don't Waste Campaign here.

Recycle and compost as much as you can, so less waste goes into landfills. Most councils now provide kitchen compost bins, or you can find more stylish ones online. Better still if you have the space to create your own compost heap outside - you’ll have nutrient rich soil for your garden for years to some. Check this website out for composters you can easily make at home.