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How to halve your food waste

How to halve your food waste

10.2 million tonnes of food and drink are wasted every year in the UK

In support of the Government’s initiative to halve food waste by 2030, major UK supermarkets and food companies have signed a pledge to tackle the problem. The companies have committed to “ground-breaking action” to drive down food waste and raise public awareness, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “I am delighted to see so many UK food businesses commit to game-changing action to cut food waste, and I hope that others follow suit. The UK is showing real leadership in this area, but each year millions of tonnes of food is wasted. Together we will end the environmental and economic scandal that is food waste.”

The government’s food surplus and waste champion Ben Elliot said: “We are pleased to see these retailers committing to change. To those retailers yet to sign the pledge – why not? You have a responsibility to step up and do your bit. The food waste crisis can only be solved by collective action.”

An estimated 10.2 million tonnes of food and drink are wasted every year in the UK after leaving the farm gate, worth around £20 billion. Families blow £15billion a year — an average of £500 each — on food that is thrown away but could have been eaten.

Earlier this year the government launched a £15 million scheme to tackle food waste, building on its Resources and Waste Strategy which sets out how the government will introduce annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses.

Here are five ways how you can cut down on food waste:

Storage and stock rotation

It is easy to get carried away and buy ingredients in bulk because you’re getting good deals, even when you’re not sure whether you’ll use everything. Even if there are bulk purchases, ensure that all stock is stored right, in clean and healthy packaging and food containers. Regarding food rotation, make sure older stock is used up before opening new ones. 

Right temperatures

Maintaining accurate temperature control for various food items is crucial as it prevents spoilage and consequently reduces waste. This covers cooling hot food rapidly, heating cold food at right temperature, freezing and thawing meat and vegetables.

Have clear labelling

All food items should be marked and bear correct date and product information including mentions about allergens, suitability for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It is essential to mention detailed use-by and end date of products when in storage and have a proper labelling system.          

Watch the portions

Large food portions simply result in more food wastage. According to previous studies, chips and salads are often left behind, as it is considered to be an additional part of their main meal, which they didn’t ask for, hence don’t care to finish it.

Tie up with a local charity

Many restaurants have established connections with local charities that give away food. This helps is utilization of food as well as serving the poor and hungry.

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