Food Waste

Food waste is where unused food is simply thrown away, this is a huge hidden cost. In some households, it can be as much as one third of the food we buy is a waste. The average household throws away £366 of food every single year - of which at least half could have been eaten.

Food waste Facts

One third of all food is thrown away

Most of the waste is sent to landfill, which releases methane gas

Here are some foods which are sent to waste untouched each day

  • 300,000 packets of crisps
  • 7 million slices of bread
  • 520,000 unused teabags
  • 1.3 million yoghurt and yoghurt drinks

The reasons for food waste are many and varied, but the main reasons tend to be either cooking and preparing too much food, or we forget we have the food and allow it to go past its sell-by date.

Reducing food waste

Store your food properly

If you haven't already done so, invest in a set of good quality airtight containers for storing cooked meats, cheeses and cooked vegetables.

A proper bread bin is great for storing breads and bakery products and keeping them fresher for longer.

Check your 'Best Before' dates

A lot of food is sent to waste because it is nearing the 'Best Before' date when bought from the shops.

Always check the Best Before dates when buying food, and make sure you use the food before it reaches its Best Before date.

Check products at the back of the shelves, rather than nearer the front, often these are the freshest and newest, which means a longer period before they have to be used.

Not only does this mean you'll be eating your food when it is as fresh as possible, it saves money and waste on throwing away food that has gone beyond its Best Before date.

Buy fresh fruit and vegetables loose - not pre-packaged

Often fruit and vegetables can come pre-packaged, which means you buy more than you need.

Not only does this mean packaging waste, it means spending more money than necessary and on food waste as a result.

Loose fruit and vegetables are normally cheaper to buy; and as you only need to buy the quantity you require, you'll throw away a lot less food waste at the end of the week.

A lot of 'two for one' offers means consumers buy more product than they need. T

You may also want to consider where you buy your fresh foods - farm shops and farmers markets are often good places to buy fruit and vegetables. The quality is often superior to fruit and vegetables bought in a supermarket, and by buying locally produced foods you're reducing the amount of miles the food has travelled.

Check whats in the fridge before you go shopping

Before you do you weekly shop, quickly check what food you have left in the fridge, freezer and cupboards.

The most common foods to be thrown away are fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, bakery and bread products and dairy.

If you don't want to eat the foods straight away, consider freezing vegetables, meat and fish. Milk can also be frozen. Older bread can be toasted or used in cooking.

Produce your own food

Not everyone has a field in their back garden to raise a herd of cows, pigs or sheep! But why not try growing your own fruit and vegetables?

Even if you have a small garden or only a window box there are ways to grow your own. It tastes great, you eat your food fresher, and because you only pick the amount you need, as you need it, there is less food waste.

Disposal of food waste

If you do have to waste food an efficient way to do it is to compost it. Every year gardeners purchase tonnes of compost, which can be produced at home very efficiently. To find out more look at our gardening composting tips, to find out about composting and wormeries.

Return from Food Waste to Recycling Page


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