No more binning your food!
Hi! I’m Gemma and I wrote this dare because I have a passion for saving food from the bin. After all, food has been on a journey similar to our own; a seed is planted, fed and watered, then ripens into a mature bit of yumminess… seriously, why would we want this to end up in a bin?!
Even if we think we don’t throw away much food, I bet the majority of us aren’t as good as we think, and that includes me!
Why should we care about food?
Food is used to fuel us, without it we’ll be no more! Currently we throw away enough edible food each year to feed all of the hungry people in the world – there really is no need for food insecurity!
Besides the inhumanity of food waste, the environmental scale of the problem is huge!
Here are some facts to blow your mind:
- If landfilled, decaying food produces methane, which is 25x more potent than CO2! If landfill sites aren’t properly managed this methane contributes greatly to a changing atmosphere.
- Each day in the UK we throw away, 20 million slices of bread, 4.4 million potatoes and 5.2 million glasses of milk!
- 1 bag (1KG) of sugar from sugar cane has a water footprint of 1,500 litres – I know, mind blown!
- Growing soya beans is causing widespread deforestation but at least 75% of soya grown is to feed livestock!
But just how much are we binning?
One-third of the world’s food produced is lost or wasted! In the UK, 70% of the food thrown away is within the household and 70% of this food was once perfectly edible!
In the UK the average family bins £730 of food per year, whereas the average American family bins $1,600! Can we really afford to be throwing instead of eating?
By reducing the food you throw away, it won’t only save you money, it will value and protect the labour, land, water, and energy used to produce our food and reduce greenhouse gases. After all, they say that reducing food waste is the number one solution to fighting climate change!
Tip: watch this 3-minute video to better understand the global issue of food waste
How to avoid and deal with food waste
You’ll pick up many ways to reduce food waste but here are my top three tips for dealing with food.
Change the way you think and shop
We often shop on autopilot, buying the same things week in, week out. But why not take five and have a think about what foods you throw away most, and why. Addressing those foods will help you find ways to reduce your waste! Start small and address one food item at a time if that helps you. Any changes you make need to suit your household’s priorities and lifestyle. Be true to yourself and make realistic changes.
For example, if you often throw bread, can you buy a smaller loaf or freeze half at a time – got space in the freezer? Would you remember to take it out to make sandwiches – need to set a phone reminder?
Often throw greening potatoes? Can you buy loose instead of a supersize packet and look at where you are storing them (should be in a dark, cool, dry place – away from onions).
Know your dates
A common reason for throwing food is not understanding the date labelling. Here’s the brief lowdown on dates:
- It’s there for safety so it’s the most important date to remember.
- Use by dates are usually on foods that go off quickly such as meat and prepackaged salads.
- Don’t eat food past this date!
Display until/sell by
- This is for retailers, not the consumer so you can ignore the date and eat the food for as long as it looks/smells good!
Best Before (BBE)
- It’s there for quality, not safety.
- Food will be yummiest before this date, the flavour and texture may not be as good after but is usually still safe to eat.
- Use your eyes and nose to judge
Make sure you store food according to instructions on the packaging!
Need a bit more info?
Watch this 1-minute video to master the difference between use-by and best before dates.
In Stage one, day two of the dare, you’ll get quizzed on these dates so make sure you become a date labelling nerd!
We all create inedible food waste, such as peelings, eggshells and bones – the problem is the food that was perfectly edible. Not every council offers a recycling collection but if yours does, it’s simple – use it!
Household recycling collections usually recycle through anaerobic digestion or in-vessel composting. This is an efficient way of disposing of inedible food. These processes create energy that powers homes and creates compost. But still many with recycling services choose to bin food instead of recycling it – the most common reason for not recycling is because of odours. But remember, generally it smells more in your household bin!
If you don’t have a recycling collection (or even if you do!) then why not compost? Or if you have limited space or no garden an indoor wormery or bokashi bin could be a food lifesaver – I genuinely made good friends with my worms!
But just because you recycle food it doesn’t make it ‘ok’ to throw the edibles, remember the resources that went into making each grain, crumb and bite of the food produced.
Cheeky little extra – know how to handle a kitchen!
Prepping food correctly and making it yummy will help you enjoy your time in the kitchen as well as devouring the food afterwards! Get kitchen confidence by reading our quick guide.
Why not watch my Ailuna Chitchat with the brilliant Martyn from Lagom Chef?
And remember, sharing is caring – invite friends to join you on this tasty journey now so they can do the dare alongside you!