Food waste is becoming a growing issue in the UK. The charity WRAP estimates that 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year. While only 1% is estimated to come from supermarkets, there has been lots of media focus on supermarket waste in recent months.
In January Asda started selling ‘Wonky Vegetable’ boxes in order to help reduce the amount of waste they produced. The boxes include seasonal vegetables that are misshapen or are a different size than average, and cost just £3.50. So far this seems very successful with many of the 128 stores taking part reporting selling out of the boxes very quickly.
Following on from this, Tesco has also recently announced that they will start selling “Perfectly Imperfect” vegetables in 200 stores. Tesco has also announced that they are extending their partnership with Fareshare, a food distribution charity, who work with community groups and charities to provide meals to vulnerable people, including the homeless, elderly and children.
While these schemes look positive in terms of reducing waste, there have been some criticisms over the high standards fruit and vegetables are held to in the first place. It is also worth remembering that a high proportion of food waste is created from households (for more tips on reducing your own food waste check out this previous blog post).
Each year UK householders waste on average 7 million tonnes of food waste. Of this waste, 4.2 million tonnes is avoidable, the equivalent of 6 meals every week for the average household. This wastage is estimated to cost £470 for the average householder and £700 for a household with children according to data from WRAP.
At ACE, as part of our Sustainable Communities Project we are trying to engage and communicate with communities about living sustainably, including food waste avoidance. To achieve this we run interactive workshops to engage local communities and provide practical tips and information.
So what can I do? ACE has come up with a series of simple steps that can be carried out to reduce your food waste and save your money!
1. Planning, Planning, Planning!
-Create shopping lists to make sure you only buy what you need and plan meals ahead.
-Love your leftovers – get creative! Come up with new recipes using leftover food.
2. Portion sizes
-Perfect portion sizes, only cook what you can eat! Check the labels on pasta and rice packets for further guidance.
-Make the most of your freezer! The freezer can be a useful way to store food you have not eaten and reheat when you need. Be careful to check the guidelines as to how long items can be frozen . (Guidelines)
-Store foods at the correct temperature, check food labels to ensure you are storing them at the right temperature so they stay fresher for longer.
-Use date labels on food to make sure you know when it will expire.
So why not give some of these quick and easy tips a go?! Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint by avoiding food waste but you will also be saving money!
Head to WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste page for recipes and more information. One of our favourite recipes at ACE are these crispy fried rice cakes which can be quickly made up using everyday items from the kitchen.
Or why not get in contact with ACE to organise a workshop in your area? At email@example.com or 02072506961.
Waste is something that we all have and interact with on a daily basis, whether at home, in public or in the workplace. The United Kingdom sends more waste to landfills than any other nation in Europe, but why? By comparison to another large industrialised European nation such as Germany, Britain puts 20 million tonnes of waste into the ground annually compared to their 500,000 tonnes. At ACE we are trying to combat this unnecessary waste in Britain, we are trying to promote waste to be used as a resource and end our addiction to automatically putting things we don’t want or need immediately into landfills. When waste is put into landfills it emits methane, a highly damaging gas and is 20 times more detrimental to the environment than the infamous carbon dioxide. Processes such as, anaerobic digestion which turns sewage and food waste into a sustainable energy source. Britain discard 18 million tonnes of food waste each year, if the energy was harnessed from this waste it would be enough to heat 700,000 homes. Action for Community and Environment is promoting and exploring ways to recycle waste and use it as a resource in both the professional and home environments. ACE is holding and event in Holborn on the 3rd of April 2013 that will include a tremendous number of opportunities for companies to network and learn how to turn waste into an advantage. We invite anyone who wishes to change their life or business for the better and reduce their waste!