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.

3. Storage

-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 info@ace.org.uk or 02072506961.

Plastics are  versatile, hardwearing materials which have benefited humans through its application in medicine, electronics or transport. Most plastics, however, are used for packaging and discarded after a single use. Due to their durability and disposable usage, the detrimental effect of plastics and plastic carrier bags in particular on the environment is immense.

Even when plastic bags are disposed of properly, the wind blows them from landfills into the ocean. All the plastics that slip into the sea are carried by currents, and pile up where the various currents converge. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the most well known of the floating rubbish gyres; it is five times the size of the UK. However, there are actually five of them across the globe (see picture below).

The campaigners from Greener Upon Thames bring the problem of plastics to the point: “Plastic bags do not biodegrade, they photodegrade – breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits, contaminating soil, waterways, oceans and entering the food chain when ingested by animals. In the marine environment plastic bag litter is lethal, causing severe pain and distress, and killing at least 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles every year.”

Reducing the consumption of plastics and plastic carrier bags therefore is crucial and you can start making a difference today:

– Talk to businesses
When you visit shops, ask them whether they use biodegradable packaging and why not if they don’t.

– Use a re-useable cotton bag
Reduce your reliance upon plastic bags.

– Make your party green
Parties, weddings, all kinds of social functions generate waste. ACE has teamed up with London Bio Packaging (proud supplier of sustainable packaging to the London 2012 Olympic Games) to promote food packaging made from palm leaf, sugar bagasse and plant starch. Check our websiteace.org.uk/shop.html for details.