NEW! Our Hero’s Journey tool can help you with your next step towards financial freedom - click here to try now.
Advertiser Disclosure

How to reduce food waste

How to reduce food waste
Image source: Getty Images


Despite efforts to reduce food waste, UK households still throw away 4.5 million tonnes of food every year, according to a study from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Plot your path towards financial freedom with our Hero’s Journey tool!

MyWalletHero is here to help you learn about taking control of your money, whether that’s paying off debt, working towards a short-term money goal, or investing for your future.

This tool can help you understand the next steps on your journey – simply choose a goal that best describes your current interests to get started.

Food waste is not only bad for the economy but also for the planet. Luckily, making sustainable changes is a lot easier than you might expect.

Reasons to reduce food waste

Reducing food waste has many benefits. Perhaps one of the most obvious is saving money. Those 4.5 million tonnes UK residents are wasting? They’re costing us £14 billion – and part of that is coming from your wallet if you’re constantly throwing food away.

In addition, food thrown away increases your carbon footprint, as it takes energy and resources to produce, ship and dispose of food. Landfill sites are also a significant source of methane emissions, so the less waste you produce in any form, the better.

How to reduce food waste at home

Plan your meals ahead

It’s best to plan a menu for the week before you shop. This way you know you’ll only be buying exactly what you need – and exactly what you’ll use.

If you can’t plan ahead at least to avoid buying too much of anything, especially fresh foods. Fruits and vegetables perish faster than most people think, so buying too much at once is likely to result in waste.

The same is true of bread, dairy products and anything that goes bad or expires quickly. If you don’t have a food budget, keeping track of how much you spend on groceries can help you see how much you’re wasting. 

Stock up on non-perishables

Keeping a steady amount of dry staples around guarantees you’ll never run out of food. Grain products like pasta and quinoa, frozen vegetables and fruits, canned beans and other long-lasting foods are perfect to complement those fresh veggies without leading to waste.

4 iron-clad rules for saving money on everything

Our Editor Sam Robson has been on a personal cost-cutting mission for years – and it’s time to share his wisdom.

Check out his choicest saving tips and tricks in this free report, “Sam’s 4 Iron-Clad Rules For Saving Money On Everything”.

Just enter your email below for instant access to your free copy.

By checking this box and submitting your email address, you agree to MyWalletHero sending you emails with money tips, along with details of products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from future emails at any time. You also consent to us processing your personal data in line with our privacy policy, and our cookie statement. For more information, including how we collect, store, and handle personal data, please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.

And with these supplies in your cupboard, you know you’ll always have back up meal ideas just in case.

Store food correctly

To reduce food waste in your fridge, make sure leftovers are stored in air-tight glass or clear containers so you can see what’s inside. 

Outside the fridge, you can prevent spoiled and rotten produce by separating foods that produce ethylene gas while ripening. Foods that do this include bananas, tomatoes and avocados. Keep these away from other fruits and vegetables to prevent premature spoilage.

Use what you have

Get creative in the kitchen by making substitutions to take advantage of foods before their expiration date. Use kale instead of spinach in a recipe if that’s what you have. And don’t be afraid to add wilted green leafed veggies to sauces or soups rather than throwing them away.

Use your freezer more

Slice and freeze bananas, pineapple and other fruits before they go bad. Bread can be frozen for toast later. Sauces, curries and soups freeze well if you have leftovers you can’t finish up in the next few days. 

Have a leftover night every week 

If your fridge is full of little bits of food you can’t seem to finish up, find a way to combine them. You can create great stir-fries or casseroles using what you have. You can even combine bits of fruits and veg to make a healthy smoothie. 

Don’t let labels confuse you 

Wording like ‘sell by’ or ‘best before’ on labels is not meant to be a hard expiration date. Most food is still perfectly fine to consume way past those dates. This is especially true of dry, canned and frozen foods. The rule of thumb? Always throw away food that looks or smells spoiled. Otherwise, give it a try. 

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

Reviewed and rated 4 stars out of 5 by MyWalletHero

Need a financial adviser? Get a free initial review lasting up to 1 hour, plus £50 off any follow-up advice.

MyWalletHero has sourced you a £50 discount off the cost of advice when you find an independent or whole-of-market financial adviser through Unbiased.co.uk*. All advisers are FCA-regulated, qualified and give fully unbiased advice. To find yourself an adviser fast and for free – use the Unbiased matching tool.

*This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.


Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.