We’ve all put leftovers in the fridge and forgotten about them, only to discover them few days later looking slightly worse for wear. Nobody likes throwing away food; but sometimes we have no choice. Now, just imagine that if the few bits of food you throw away are multiplied by all the households in the UK. Suddenly we’re talking about mountains rather than morsels.
It’s estimated that the UK generates about 20 million tonnes of food waste every year. All of this goes into bins, is collected by the municipal waste collection teams, is transported around the UK and eventually emptied into landfill.
Just imagine how much space 20 million tonnes of food takes up and how much fuel and man hours it takes to move it. When you consider all of this, doing anything we can to reduce food waste becomes even more important. So, here are four ways to reduce food waste and cut down on what we throw away.
The main reason we end up throwing food away is due to poor organisation. Things get flung in the fridge, end up at the back and forgotten. Poor meal planning means we buy too much of one thing and simply watch it rot. With a bit more foresight, better planning and a good system of arranging the fridge and cupboards, you can cut back on waste.
One way of using large amounts of food is to separate and freeze. If you’re only eating one chicken breast out of a pack of four, then why not individually wrap the others and freeze? The technology allows us to make better use of our food than ever before, and yet we still throw it away in record amounts. It doesn’t make sense.
Of course, sometimes all we can do is still not enough and food gets past its best. However, rather than throw away, food waste recycling presents another alternative.
Food waste can be composted with relative ease to make great fertiliser for the garden. You can either do this yourself in your outdoor spaces or take part in a wider food composting scheme, if you don’t have your own outside space.
Food waste contains a lot of energy that can be harvested. When fed into a digestion tank, the naturally occurring bacteria can be used to power an engine that generates electricity and heat. This might not seem plausible on an individual scale, but think how much potential energy there is in 20 million tonnes of food. Again, there are schemes and commercial enterprises that make this a possibility.