Make the most of your pumpkin this Halloween - 'Frightful Waste'
Wil you be carving a spooky pumpkin this year?
If you would like some tasty meal ideas like roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin curry, soup and lasagne please visit Love Food Hate Waste
Or if you don’t use the insides of your pumpkins place all seeds, plump and old pumpkins in to your brown bin along with any unwanted food waste, such as nut casings, fruit & vegetable peelings and egg shells using your brown bin. All food and garden waste is recycled into compost. (Please remove all packaging).
For more information on food waste recycling please click here.
Making the Most of Every Mouthful
In the UK we are wasting less food than we were a few years ago. That’s good news, but it’s no time to get complacent. UK households still waste £12.5 billion worth of food each year and although we are starting to realise just how much money we can save by making the most of the food we buy, food waste can have other impacts than just those affecting our pockets, and these impacts can be on a much larger scale than just our local community and family finances.
Since the launch of Love Food Hate Waste in 2007, the UK has reduced the amount of food that is thrown away- good news for our pockets and also good news for the environment. But why so? Most of us know that landfilling food isn’t good for the environment, but beyond that it’s sometimes hard to see the connection between the way in which we manage our food at home, and the bigger picture.
During this Olympic summer, Love Food Hate Waste too is going global! We will be going beyond our bins and our bank accounts and having a good look at just how big an impact food has on its journey from field to fork. Some is well travelled; some goes through a number of complex processes, some will come from your own garden, a neighbour’s tree or even a window box. However it gets to us, it will have had an impact on our planet, its soil, energy resources, water and atmosphere. Once we realise the true global cost of getting every plate of food served up, it becomes easier to realise the importance of making the most of every mouthful.
Love Food Hate Waste will be taking a look at these issues, the impact our food has – especially if it is wasted, and what can be done to reduce the global impact of the food on our plates.
Making the Most of Every Mouthful
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Beyond the Bin
UK households have made great strides in reducing the good food that we waste. In fact food and drink waste is down by 21% since 20074, but with £12.5 billion of food still ending up in the bin, there is still a long way to go. We like to reduce food waste because it not only saves us a small fortune, but we are also aware that binned food often ends up in landfill and that somehow that’s not good for the environment. That’s quite true of course – good food in a landfill site will rot and produce greenhouse gases, but getting our food from field to fork has a big impact on the global environment, and this impact is larger than it needs to be when food is wasted. Making the most of each mouthful makes a difference beyond that of our own bins and bank accounts.
The Incredible Journey
An Olympic summer celebrates people coming together from all over the world, but some of the food that we eat whilst watching the games can also be very well travelled. Take the humble pizza. Bread for the base, vegetables from the fields or greenhouses, tuna from the sea, pineapple from tropical climes, cheese from the dairy - it’s the world on a plate! Each of those ingredients will have gone through a production process that would have involved land, water, energy and packaging to get the pizza to your plate in tip top condition.
Putting Our Foot On It
When we think of our food in terms of its whole journey and what it takes to get it to its final destination, it becomes easier to see how the food that we buy accounts for 23% of our ecological footprint - a measure of our environmental impact on the
4 WRAP: Household food and drink Waste 2012 world (WWF 2010) and if the food is then wasted, all of those precious resources that went into producing it also get wasted. Let’s take a closer look...
Coming in to land
Whether it’s growing crops for direct consumption, or growing crops to feed animals a lot of land is needed to produce our food. Not just in this country, but in those parts of the world that grow food that ends up here. However, with so much food being wasted, land is being put into agricultural production that isn’t needed. Across the world, land used for uneaten food represents close to 30% of the world’s agricultural land area.6 In the UK an area 91% of the size of Wales is used up in this way.
If you are trying to grow your own during a hosepipe ban, you will know just how much effort and energy it takes to keep carrying cans of water up and down the garden. With changing weather patterns, water is an increasingly precious resource both here and abroad. It takes 12 litres of water to produce just one tomato, 650 litres to produce one chicken breast, 125 litres to produce a portion of rice and 1,200 litres to produce a loaf of bread. On average the amount of water needed to produce food is about 1000 times the weight of the food itself, but 4% of the UK water footprint is used to produce food that ends up in the bin.
Pie in the sky
Food production, cooking, chilling, transport and packaging all need energy – it’s not just food in a landfill site that creates greenhouse gases, but they are produced at every step of the way. If we didn’t waste food in the UK, it would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.
Making the most of it
With startling facts like these, it’s easier to see how really valuing our food can make such a difference to the planet as well as our pockets. But how to we start? One way might be to reconnect with food by having a go at growing some of it ourselves. Even simple things like tubs of herbs re-potted from the supermarket, a window box of lettuce leaves or salads that you can just keep cutting and eating are a cheap and easy alternative to bags of washed, ready to eat salads. Local markets, farmers markets and farm shops will often have food that has been locally produced. It’s often a handy place to pick up bargains and usually in the portions that you want. Bringing spare garden produce or gluts from the allotment into work, passing them on to neighbours helps reduce waste – but have you ever thought of coordinating your growing efforts with fellow gardeners so that you don’t all end up wanting to give away courgettes at the same time?
Just a spoonful of sugar
If home grown isn’t an option for you there are so many other ways to make the most of every mouthful. Start by challenging yourself to see every spoonful as precious and this can help re-think how you deal with little bits of leftovers. For example:
- Nip and tuck – take just a spoonful of leftover stew or casserole and tuck it into pitta bread for lunch the next day. A spoonful of leftover baked beans from breakfast can added into a chilli con carne for tea.
- Get saucy – a spoonful of spag bol can become a pizza topping of filling for a baked potato of fajita.
- Concentrate- tomato concentrate, pesto, brown sauce and ketchup that so often gets forgotten. Add them into your favourites eg added under the cheese on cheese on toast, swirl into stews, spoon into mash, squidge into risottos.
- Top that! Leftover spoonfuls of yogurt can top cereal, fruit puddings or a dish of curry. An old crust and a cube of dry cheese can be grated and used to top cauliflower cheese or pasta bakes.
- Raise a glass – save leftover wine or beer for sauces, gravies and rice dishes.
Whether home grown or shop bought, it’s possible to rescue many foods that you might be tempted to discard. Much of our fruit and veg – those water and land hungry foods - can be revived if it has got a bit tired. Plunging salad leaves into cold water, putting celery or broccoli in a glass of water in the fridge overnight or stewing, pureeing or blitzing tired fruit into smoothies gives them a new lease of life.
Going for the big hits
If there was a medal table for food waste in the UK, in bronze is milk with 290,000 tonnes being wasted each year, in silver are fresh potatoes at 320,000 tonnes and in gold medal position is standard bread weighing in at a mighty 350,000 tonnes. Reducing the levels of waste in these common foods would make a big change to our environmental impact so here are some top tips for each of them.
Milk – make sure your fridge if between 0-5 degrees and this will help keep your milk fresher for longer – many of our fridges are too warm so milk goes off too quickly.
Spuds – store in a cool, dark place. If they go a bit green and sprouty don’t throw them out, give them a good peel and then cook them.
Bread – store it in the freezer or in a cool dark place – not in the fridge where the fridge will speed up the staling process.
If you have foods at home that regularly appear on you waste podium, help is at hand. The Love Food Hate Waste assistant brings together all the tips and advice for a range of popular foods that sometimes end up in the bin.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of food waste and the global impact that is has, but the good news is that there are very simple steps that you can take to drastically reduce it. Plenty of help is available to get you started. By planning meals and menus, storing our food correctly, cooking the right amounts and loving our leftovers we will be well on the way to making the most of every mouthful.
For hints, tips and recipes on how to make the best of the food that we buy and save up to £60 a month, visit lovefoodhatewaste.com.