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5 easy ways to reduce food waste

February 19, 2024

Did you know that over 60 million tons of food waste is created in the U.S. each year? Food waste is also the largest component taking up space in landfills. This is a major problem for the planet, but it also means that small changes made by lots of individuals have the power to significantly reduce this number. 

So, where can we start? In this blog, we’re delving into what food waste means for the planet and what we can all do to play our part in reducing it. 

Food waste is a major global problem for two main reasons. 

Firstly, producing food that will never be eaten puts unnecessary pressure on the land, water, and people required to produce the food in the first place. Those resources are ultimately being wasted because what they create isn’t being used. On a personal level, it also means that people are spending money on food that they won’t end up eating, which in a time of rising costs puts unnecessary pressure on ourselves and our families, too. 

Secondly, there is a carbon footprint attached to producing food. A carbon footprint is the measure of the quantity of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds) released as a result of a person’s actions. The release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is driving climate change around the world, so reducing these are key to a healthy planet. 

If you think about the food production industry, activities that generate a carbon footprint include growing plants or raising animals, harvesting, processing, packaging, transportation and finally the refrigeration of food in our homes. The use of the food we buy contributes to our personal carbon footprint. However, our footprint can be lessened by making smart, sustainable choices about what we eat and how we think about our food. 

Luckily, making small changes can significantly reduce the food waste generated by your home. Here are our top 5 ways to waste less food: 

📋 Make a weekly meal plan – only buying what you need helps keep costs down and ensures you won’t have excess food in the fridge that ends up spoiling. Who knew something as simple as writing a shopping list before you grocery shop could help reduce food waste! 

Pro tip: you could also factor in some batch cooking to take the pressure off – simply double your recipe and keep half in the fridge for an easy dinner later in the week. Or you could batch cook and freeze half so you always have an easy meal available that can be heated up quickly. 

🍜 Reusing leftovers – the savviest waste reducers are great repurposes! If you have food left over at the end of a meal, think about how you can use it somewhere else. Our favorite trick is to pack up leftover portions in Tupperware to make an easy lunch for the following day. This is especially handy during the week where quick and easy lunches are key! 

You can also add leftovers to other dishes to use them up and make meals go further. Leftover vegetables are a great addition to stir-fries or soups, baked fish or roast chicken can be finished off in stir-fries, spreads, pasta dishes or tacos! Leftover roast potatoes are brilliant in an omelet the next morning. Even stale bread can be frozen until you have enough to make into croutons or bread pudding (we love this one from Life, Love and Sugar). It’s really easy to finish food off consistently when you get creative! 

❄️ Freeze leftovers – this is the simplest way to reduce food waste and guarantees that your cooked meals won’t spoil before you have a chance to finish them. Simply portion your leftover food once your meal is cool and pop in the freezer – just make sure to label your containers so you remember what you’ve frozen! 

Pro tip – freezing isn’t just for leftover meals! If you have bananas in your fruit bowl that are turning brown, pop them in your freezer. When you crave a smoothie or banana bread, they’ll be waiting! Leftover cooked vegetables, any raw vegetables you can’t use up in time or any parts of vegetables you don’t need for a recipe (like tough broccoli stalks) can be frozen and used up later in soup. 

🧊 Buy frozen – frozen food is a great way to eliminate food waste and save money. Bulk buying frozen fish means you can easily defrost a salmon fillet when you need a simple and delicious dinner without compromising on the nutritional value of your seafood. We also love keeping bags of frozen berries and vegetables in our freezers – it makes getting our 5 a day really easy and defrosting them takes very little time. 

🐟 Use every bit of your food – think strategically about the food that you buy, especially if you’re cooking a big roast or a whole fish. Once you’ve had the initial meal and the leftovers have been frozen, simmer the bones with herbs and diced vegetables to make stock that you can use later. We love using prepared fish stock in our show-stopping Paella with shrimp. If you don’t have sufficient shells or bones to make stock after one meal, they can be frozen too and saved until you have enough. 

paella with shrimpPaella with shrimp 

Pro-tip – even food waste-reducing heroes end up with parts of their food that they can’t use up, like potato peels or banana skins. If you can, composting these rather than putting them in your regular waste bin is the most sustainable option. 

For more simple tips on living sustainably as well as lots of ways to enjoy responsibly raised seafood, follow us on Instagram

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