5 ways to reduce food waste right now
5 ways to reduce food waste right now
It’s never been more important to reduce food waste than it is right now.
For one, food waste is a significant contributor to climate change. It’s responsible for around 8-10% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions. If it were a country, food waste would only be behind the USA and China as the world’s biggest polluter.
This helps contribute to the second reason, which is that the food supply chain is being stretched thin. While the war in Ukraine is a big issue, and Brexit makes importing from many markets tricky, climate change is making farming difficult in large parts of the world, with increased extreme weather events reducing crop yields. This is driving food inflation, as many staple ingredients like grains and vegetables are harder to find.
It means cutting food waste is good for the planet, and great for your wallet. These ten tips will help cut unnecessary waste without requiring big changes from your day-to-day routine.
- Trust your senses before labels
If you notice it’s past the date on a ‘best before’ label, don’t head to the bin right away. Trust your senses – if the food still looks, smells, tastes, and feels ok, then it probably is.
Increasingly, many retailers are dropping the ‘best before’ dates entirely on products like milk and bread to help consumers combat waste.
It’s worth pointing out that there is a difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. ‘Use by’ date labels – usually found on foods such as chicken and fish – indicate a product is unsafe to consume after this date.
While extra care should be taken around ‘use by’ date labels, you can freeze these products to extend their freshness. Just make sure it’s properly defrosted before use, and if it’s been removed from its original packaging, wrap it in cling film before freezing it. This will ensure it remains in the best condition while in deep freeze – and it takes up less space than a plastic container.
It’s important to remember that frozen food can still deteriorate if it isn’t used quickly enough. The exact times you can freeze food varies – fresh meats can usually be kept in the freezer for around three months, whereas bread can last up to six. Certain vegetables, stored properly, can be kept for up to a year.
The look, smell, and taste test still applies to food that’s been in the freezer. While it probably won’t be unsafe after being in the freezer too long, the eventual breakdown of its texture and flavour can render it unusable, so be sure to check if you’re unsure.
- Buy little, buy often
Admittedly, this is much easier to do if you’re within walking distance of a shop, but buying little and often will make it much easier to prevent food waste. By only buying what you need rather than stocking up on what you think you’ll need, buying loose fruit and veg instead of large packs, and ignoring 3-for-2 offers when you only need one, you can run a lean, mean, super-efficient kitchen.
- Plan your meals
This tip pairs really nicely with the above. If you plan your meals out for the week – or even just for the next few days – you can make sure you never buy more than you need. Recording the exact quantities of the ingredients you need may be an extra bit of admin that some don’t have time for, but rigidly sticking to plans like this means that you can keep food waste to an absolute minimum.
This will also help you portion out food for each meal. If you like to cook a little extra for tea so you can take the leftovers for your lunch break the next day, you should have a better idea of how much you have left to spare.
- That’s a wrap
All the planning in the world can’t account for the occasional leftovers. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, we just can’t clear our plates – and that’s ok. Or maybe you’re a batch cooker who portions out meals for the rest of the week – that’s ok too.
Both instances exemplify why it’s important to always have a roll of cling film in your kitchen drawers. It’s your number one ally in the fight against food waste thanks to its cling properties, which help it form an airtight seal around the contents. This stops your food from being contaminated by unwanted microbes or aromas, preserving it for longer. And just a small amount of film can cover a large amount of food, making it a cost-effective solution.
Of course, not all cling films are created equal – at Prowrap, we specialise in creating multi-layer films with a high gloss finish for a cling that really sticks. And, as our films are designed for fast-paced professional environments, they offer high puncture resistance and a premium cutterbox for a clean tear.
To learn more about our range of cling films for domestic and professional applications, contact us today!