Stop wasting your food
Food waste happens all the time, all over the world. The World Resources Institute found that, between being grown and getting to your plate, about 25% of the world's food is lost or wasted. Often this is because food goes off during transport, because factories process food poorly or because supermarkets throw it away.WRAP
says that the UK alone wastes 10 million tonnes of food each year, 60% of which could be avoided. If Europe stopped wasting food today, we could feed 200 million people. Eating local, unprocessed food can help – but the scary fact is, 70% of UK food waste happens in our own homes.
Partly, this is down to packaging and supermarkets. Over half of the food we waste hasn't been used 'in time', including 17 billion portions of fresh produce. We've all done it – thrown away that surplus pepper when the stir fry recipe only calls for two.
The easiest way to avoid doing this is to stop buying packs in the first place: if you need two peppers, buy two peppers. And if that seems like too much of a faff, have a regular check of your fridge. If you have food that's about to go off, cook it and freeze it. Love Food Hate Waste
has tons of tips on how to use your leftovers.
But first, learn what 'gone off' actually means. 'Best before' dates, according to both the NHS and the Food Standards Agency, are simply an indication of when food will be at its freshest, not when you should throw it away.
Both 'sell by' and 'display until' dates are added by the supermarket, not by an authority: store your food well and, even past these dates, if it's not mouldy or yeasty, it's probably fine to cook with or freeze. But pay attention to anything marked 'use by' – after this date, food may become contaminated with bugs like norovirus. Reducing waste is important but if food has passed its 'use by' date it could make you ill, so throw it away.
If you do need to throw food away, ask your council for a food waste bin and cut down on the amount of food waste in landfill. If all edible food waste in the UK was eaten or properly disposed of, it would reduce as much CO2 as taking a quarter of cars off the road.Quick and easy tip:Learn to love leftovers
It's easy to throw away an extra portion instead of saving it but cooked food can last three to four days when refrigerated, and will do nicely for a packed lunch. Check out our guide
to see how long your leftovers will last.