It is a sad but true fact that society has become more wasteful in modern times. One of the main resources that gets wasted each and every year is food. In fact, the UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year. This fact is made even more shocking by the fact that there are 8.4 million people in the UK in food poverty. Billions of pounds are wasted each year when good food is disposed of unnecessarily. In total, over ⅓ of all food produced globally goes to waste, with the majority of this never even touching someone's plate. As food items degrade naturally over time, this contributes heavily to global warming. This is because food waste releases a great deal of methane gas as it breaks down, a gas which is 25 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. That is why we're fighting against food waste as part of Stop Food Waste Day.
The good news is, there's a solution. Food waste occurs every day within our homes. However, it can easily be reduced by a variety of methods. It's a good idea to pre-plan your meals so that you know exactly what to buy from the supermarket and do not waste money on groceries that will not get eaten. You can also cook larger meals in bulk and freeze any leftovers to be enjoyed at a later date. Another great idea is to set up a compost heap in your garden and ensure you are cleaning out your fridge regularly so that you are aware of all use-by dates. Another way to reduce your food waste is to know how to use your food 'scraps' effectively. Many edible parts of food get thrown away because we simply do not know how to prepare them. Here are some exciting ideas that use bits and pieces you would usually throw away...
- Did you know that you can actually eat the leaves of beetroot, carrots and radishes? Not only are they edible, they're also very tasty (and nutritious too!) They are very versatile and can just be used in place of greens in any recipe. Try them sautéd in a little olive oil and your favourite seasonings or add them to a salad. They are also fantastic when used in soup, pesto or hummus.
Coffee grounds make an excellent natural fertiliser for plants as they add organic material to the soil to increase growth. They also help attract earthworms while improving water retention and drainage in your garden. To use coffee grounds as fertiliser, sprinkle them directly around your plants or rake them into the top few inches of soil.
- A great way to use up your vegetable trimmings is to make your own vegetable stock! It's super simple to do, just add vegetable scraps to a large pot, cover them with water, add herbs and seasonings (we like garlic and black peppercorns) then bring it to a boil, and simmer it for 20–30 minutes. Next, filter the broth using a fine-mesh sieve, transfer it to a container, and freeze or refrigerate it.
- You can save your citrus peels to use as a natural air freshener! The peels from fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits absorb odours naturally, making them perfect for a homemade air freshener. You can simmer citrus peels with water and spices, such as cinnamon or cloves, to instantly freshen up your home. You can also add the peels to vinegar to create a cleaning spray for use all around your home.