13 eco-friendly zero waste tips that make a difference
About a third of all the food produced in the UK or imported in to the country is wasted, according to scientists. Some seven million tonnes of that waste is created by households.
If you’re starting to feel guilty thinking about all of the food your family tosses out every week – don’t worry, there are easy ways to change your habits to waste less food, save more money, and lower your carbon footprint at the same time. Zero waste is a concept we hear a lot, but we’re not entirely sure it’s possible.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t at least give it a go in your attempt to reduce waste. Here are 13 real ways to reduce waste – starting this week. Even if you don’t manage the full baker’s dozen, incorporating a few can make a real difference for the environment.
- Shop smart: They say you should never swim on a full stomach. So instead, go shopping. Yes, really. It is suggested that shopping when you’re hungry not only encourages you to buy more of the things you shouldn’t (“Well, hello, three large bars of chocolate…”), but also more food than you need. And that can mean, days later, a bin full of both food and, crucially, regret.
- Store food correctly: We’ve all done it: stored something in a hurry only to revisit days later and it’s gone off. Again, it’s a waste and can means needlessly throwing food away. Tsk and, indeed, tsk.
- Learn to preserve food: Why, it’s what YouTube was made for (well, technically, that’s not true, but we’re speaking figuratively). If you’re looking for a new kitchen-related hobby, there are all manner of eye-catching preserving videos to enjoy. So it doesn’t matter if you’re freeze-drying, immersing in alcohol or dehydrating food, it’s a creative way of breathing fresh life into something you’d have otherwise thrown away.
- Use scraps: When we were young, there was a delicious meal called “Bubble & Squeak”. Typically, this was a Boxing Day tradition where you’d take all the leftover vegetables from Christmas Dinner, whack them in a pan with the leftover turkey, heat it up, and have the culinary highlight of the year. However, it doesn’t seem to be as popular these days. We’re here to bring it back. Not only does it taste great, but it’s a terrific way of using food that was on its way to the bin.
- Stop buying plastic bottles: We will hold up our hands on this one: we’ve been guilty of buying bottles of plastic water. Because, let’s face it, it’s so easy. However, we’ve recently bought reusable bottles. We save a small fortune at the supermarket AND we feel we’re making a difference. We also notice it come “bin day”. A win all round.
- Home comforts: And as a follow on from No5, there is a way of enjoying fresh water from home. InSinkErator 4N1 Touch Taps boast filtered cold water at the touch of a button. So you’re saving both a trip to the shops and the planet. You will wonder why you bought so many bottles in the first place.
- Blend it up: We’ve bought a couple of juice and smoothie-related recipe books and are now convinced we could launch a pop-up from our kitchen. However, there is also an environmental angle. In the past, we’d have thrown fruit away once it was “on the turn”. You know what we mean by “on the turn” – one minute a banana is good to go, the next it’s a lump of black sludge. And so a blender can be seen as a shrewd investment as you turn fruit into delicious and nutritious drinks.
- A lot of lolly: And, following on from No7, you can even take the smoothie angle further and freeze what you’ve made for lip-smacking ice lolly. And you know these aren’t pumped full of sugar because you’ve made it yourself. Perfect for a baking hot day.
- The big freeze: There was a time not so long ago when the freezer was regarded as the big baddie of white goods. Now, of course, the freezer is your best pal. That’s because nutrients get locked in, meaning you can freeze fruit and vegetables, storing them to enjoy for another day.
- Batch cooking: And that takes us seamlessly on to No9: sweet, sweet batch cooking. Oh, we simply cannot get enough. Making a meal for one or two can be incredibly inefficient and lead to food waste. So, instead, make a meal for, say, five or six people and whack what you don’t eat into the freezer. That means that epic shepherd’s pie gets to fight another day. Rather than lots of excess food get tossed away.
- Food waste disposal: We’ve been using the InSinkErator for a few months and it has helped change the game when it comes to food waste disposal. This is an alternative and sustainable solution to divert food waste from ending up in landfill when home composting isn’t available.
- Contain yourself: This is the sort of tip to make you feel like you’re winning at life. Buy several reusable containers and assign each to, say, cornflakes, pasta, rice and so on. Then purchase food from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag. Home storage never felt so green. And you never felt so pleased with yourself (in a good way, of course). Turns out your mum was ahead of the curve when she was throwing those Tupperware parties in the Eighties.
- The good life: OK, you do need a garden for this one. Because waste is given fresh air, it breaks down more easily. You can buy a home composting bin for around £30. Again, it’s an investment: within a year, you’ll have compost that you can use on the garden. It truly is the circle of life…