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16 Food Un-Waste Tips

16 Food Un-Waste Tips

The numbers are eye watering when it comes to the impact of food we waste in Australia each year, and it's time to stop counting numbers and start saving food

We are edging closer to the festive season and after a year of varying degrees of isolation, the celebrations with family and friends will be a big part of our lives this year. Celebration involves generous food and that generally means generous waste. We waste around 7.3 million or 5 million tonnes of food each year dependent upon who is reporting and dependent upon how you measure the waste, it costs the economy around $20 billion. A Rabo Bank study in 2019 confirmed that on average we waste 300kg of food a year each - the highest figure in the world - double some nations and triple others. 

We have all the measures and visual metaphors in the world to quantify our waste

The food we waste annually is enough to fill 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. 35% of the average household bin is food waste. One in five shopping bags end up in the bin. The money spent on wasted groceries is $3,800 per household each year. And at the same time, over 710,000 people rely on food relief each month. The irony is that we have more than enough food for everyone if the food we waste simply went to those who needed it.

Tips to reduce you food waste at home

We are spoilt for options on ways to better manage our food. BeEco sent us a tipsheet this week that has some fantastic tips on becoming a food un-waster:

  1. Buy what you need as you go, shop frequently rather than buying in bulk. (Remember to take your containers so you aren't buying piles of plastic.)
  2. Use a shopping list based on a meal planner and stick to it.
  3. Store your food correctly for maximum nutrition and taste - potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers and onions should never be refrigerated. Keep them on the bench or pantry where you can see them. These items should be kept at room temperature and last well.
  4. Have a plan for your leftovers when you make the first use of food. If you serve up a platter, don't over stuff it. Use utensils to keep fingers off it so the food stays clean.
  5. Store leftovers in a clear container or with a silicone stretch lid so you can see what's inside. If you can't see them, you probably won't eat them. 
  6. Buy the irregular shaped fruit and vegetables and influence the supply chain of your seller so that less perfectly shaped produce isn't rejected and creating a huge amount of waste.
  7. Keep organised - keeping your fridge and pantry organized so you can clearly see foods and know when they were purchased.
  8. Make you own lunch or take your leftovers.
  9. Eat the whole thing - skin and all. A lot of nutrients are in the skin of fruits and vegetables, and if you buy organic you don't need to worry about pesticides. (Always make sure you wash your fruit and vegetables.) Apple skins contain a large amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The outer layers of potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, mangoes, kiwis and eggplants are also edible and nutritious.
  10. Use the stems and veggie tops in your smoothies - using the tops of berries, vegetables and stems of kale and other greens are full of nutrients.
  11. Use your banana skins as a fertiliser and coffee grounds as a natural soil conditioner for your plants.
  12. Make your own stock from vegetable offcuts and bones. Onions, carrot and celery make a great stock base you can simmer them together adding in any herbs or leftover bones to add extra flavour.
  13. Use your freezer to preserve fruit, herbs or vegetables to use later.
  14. Composting leftover food is a great way to use food scraps, turning food waste into a homemade fertiliser for your plants.
  15. Get chickens or a rabbit if your local laws allow and you can look after them.
  16. Reducing the food waste of your household will have a big impact on your food budget and the planet.

Images: Unsplash | Brooke Lark / Ola Mishchenko

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