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Less (food) is more (money)

November 10, 2009
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A news story from yesterday reported that “more than £12bn worth of food and drink that could have been consumed is thrown out every year by householders [in the UK]” and that the “the potential damage to the environment is huge”.

Think about all that food that’s thrown away – it’s been grown (needing energy and using chemicals), transported from producer to (most likely) supermarket and then to our homes, and then without a thought it’s just chucked in the dustbin, destined for landfill or incineration. Not to mention the financial cost.

Food is one area where we could all make a small change to see a big improvement, in terms of the size of both our wallets and our bins. We’re pretty good at home; we don’t throw much food away (it helps to have a boyfriend with the appetite of a gorilla), but we could do better.

Plan ahead, make a list and stick to it

Our current routine for weekly shopping is for me to provide a shopping list and then Chris to go to the supermarket on his way home from work every Monday.

This works pretty well, but it means that we usually get stuck with the same food every week, because I’m not there and therefore don’t see things that I fancy but aren’t on the list.

This means we’re not sucked in by any promotions, which is great, but our meals aren’t that varied or thought out. So I’ve started taking 30 minutes on Sunday or Monday to sit down, rifle through some recipes and plan our meals for the week. We get variety, a specific shopping list and no waste.

Use a bit of imagination

We hardly ever have any leftovers, but when we do (usually stuff like mashed potato or couscous) I just make something with them (like fishcakes) or eat them as part of another meal the next day.

As for meat, we hardly eat any at home; mostly because it’s too expensive for very poor quality (we don’t know where it’s come from or how it was produced). And I don’t think we need to eat meat every day anyway, but that’s a different post.

Get some helpful tips

Ideally, we’d grow our own fruit and vegetables, and compost any unavoidable waste, but it’s simply not practical at the moment (we live in a rented house, although some tomatoes – or something –  in pots should be possible). But even just reducing our shopping list a bit so that we eat everything that we buy is a start.

Wrap’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign website has lots of useful information, from helpful tips to recipes for leftovers. But really, it’s not rocket science! We should all use our heads a bit more and apply some common sense (which is in bountiful supply and friendly to the environment).

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