It's Food Waste Action Week, the aim of which is to create change and help move us towards the UN sustainable development goal: to HALVE global food waste by 2030.
At Just Footprints we are getting involved and bringing you, not just a week but a month of food waste facts, tips and recipes, all with a view to helping reduce our food waste. If you don't already, now is the time to get following us on instagram (@justfootprintschester @justfootprintsfrodsham), or Facebook as we will be sharing our actions, events and tips across those platforms.
If you are a regular visitor to our Chester store, you may have noticed a few events popping up on the blackboard. One of which is the Community Cupboard pop up, which is an organisation that works with big business to help reduce the volume of food thrown away by supermarkets and other food businesses, by offering them to those who need them, no catches, no criteria for being a user of the Cupboard, and hopefully a lot less waste.
We are easing into the food waste month with a little help from the Just Footprints team. We have put together some of our team members' ideas and methods they use at home to reduce food waste. But first things first, why are we all in such a tizzy about food waste?
The UK alone wastes 26,000 tonnes of food each day. Each day! That's the same weight as two and a half Eiffel Towers. Why is this such a big problem? According to 'Friends of the Earth' we waste about a third of all food produced for human consumption, "if it were a country food waste would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases". Food waste produces methane gases as it decomposes, and we don't just throw our scraps out, we throw out perfectly edible food every week. The most common examples of household food waste are; foods started and unfinished such as loaves of bread, slices of bacon, unfinished milk, whole apples and other fruits, yoghurts and unused vegetables. When we waste perfectly edible food we are not only wasting the food itself but the valuable resources that have gone into creating it, including land, water, feed (when talking about meat products) and even the travel to get it to our doorsteps.
The good news is that small changes can make a big impact; according to lovefoodhatewaste.com if we all stopped wasting bread at home in the UK for a year "it could do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 5.3 million trees."
There are simple ways in which we can be more responsible with our food waste, only buying what we need and using what we have to hand for our meals, making the most of scraps, peels and cores of fruit and veg to make things go further and reduce the volume of food being thrown. We have put together a few of our teams favourite tips and ways in which they cut down on food waste, we think there's something for everybody in this list and hopefully you can spot one or two you like the sound of. We can't wait to hear your own ideas, and methods you already use. Feel free to share these with us in the comments below.
Debbie our head honcho is kicking off the list;
- "I like to save my lemon and orange peels, then pop them in a jar with white vinegar. It creates a citrus scented all-purpose cleaner!"
- "We like to use the leafy green carrot tops to make pesto, rather than bin them. We blend them with garlic, nuts and olive oil and mix through some pasta. You can use all sorts of greens to make a pesto; radish tops, kale, watercress etc."
- "I used to work with a wonderful lady who grew up in Venezuela and she taught me to make tea or flavoured water with avocado stones! I'd never heard of anything like it but it's something she's always done and it's super easy. Simply boil the stone in water for five minutes to soften and then carefully chop into smaller pieces or grind in a coffee grinder, then steep in water for a further 7 minutes, take off the heat and strain to use. It has a bitter quality to it so it works really well if you add a little sweetness to it in the form of agave syrup, fruit or maple.
- If I find at the end of the week that the veg drawer is full of veg on the turn I make dishes like my 'everything bolognese' or a soup like minestrone. Rather than being bound by tradition these dishes take the general idea and I swap out my ingredients as needed. And if I find my potatoes have gone a little spongy and sprouted 'eyes' they will be perfect for planting in the garden to harvest my own spuds.
- And finally these days most of my waste gets dried and turned into a powder, because I am obsessed with my dehydrator. Obviously this tips a bit niche because it's not something everyone has, but the same thing can be achieved by the oven on a low setting. I dry tops of leeks, kale stalks, onion peel and citrus zest, turn them all into powders that pack a punch in flavour and get sprinkled on rice, soup, salad, cakes."
- "Our family never throw away left overs, anything left is frozen for a future meal. Even if there isn't enough for a full meal, we will still keep it and bulk it up with something else when we do use it, that way we get another meal out of it.
- Stale bread is made into bread crumbs - which can also be frozen.
- I don't peel my potatoes, we keep the skin on for mash rather than throw the peel out. My husband even eats the core of an apple - not for everyone, I know!
- We buy food from the zero waste food hub in Sandiway, and check reduced shelves in supermarkets."
- "When I buy a loaf of bread I freeze slices in pairs, so I know I won't waste any of the loaf. I also freeze half my milk upon purchase, because I know we won't get through it all fast enough.
- All of the food waste that I do have goes into my compost, which then goes into my veg patch."
- I use a lot of vegetables and herbs across the week, which makes a lot of off cuts, peel and stems which I save in a big bag in the freezer and then at the end of the month I use them to make a big ol' pot of stock. Which can in turn be frozen in batches ready to use for the next month.
This article was written by The Just Footprints Team