Ireland currently wastes over one million tonne of food a year, according to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, with roughly one-third of that coming from homes and with every household responsible for one tonne of food waste.
Shocking as this is, hopefully, things are changing.
The likes of Nestle, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in the UK are pledging to help halve food waste by 2030, as part of the Step Up To The Plate symposium at the Victoria and Albert Museum in central London, ministers have announced.
Additionally, Diageo announced that they would remove plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap from their drink multi-packs – which include Guinness, Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick’s – and replace them with 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard.
Want to take on the challenge, and cut your contributions towards climate change too? Here are some steps to take at home, to reduce your household’s food waste…
1. Buy what you need
If a recipe you’re planning on making only requires one red pepper, avoid buying the multipack – even if it works out cheaper – if you know you’re unlikely to eat the rest.
2. Save all your leftover pasta
Chuck odds and ends of spaghetti and fusilli in together, for a medley that can be thrown in with a sauce, or into soup.
3. Grate cheese and freeze
Preempt mouldy ends of cheese by grating the lot and freezing for a later date, when mac and cheese, lasagne or cheese on toast is needed. In fact, most dairy freezes brilliantly – especially milk and hard cheese.
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4. Pickle and preserve
Got a glut of tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, etc.? Pickling veggies, or making chutneys, is a great way to use them up, and store them for later use.
5. Eat the skins
Opt for skin-on chips, roast carrots and parsnips with the skins on, and even beetroot skin is more than edible – it’ll save you time not having to peel ’em, too.
6. Keep an eye on "use by" dates
Whether in the fridge or if you’re bulk shopping, freeze things immediately if you know you’re not going to get round to eating them in time to beat their use by date.
They may be different shapes and sizes but a carrot is a carrot. Don't judge.— FAO (@FAO) May 11, 2019
Pick 'ugly' fruit and vegetables to reduce your #foodwaste.
Every action counts for a #ZeroHunger world. pic.twitter.com/UF0LsbdwT4
7. Use your nose
The best before date is a guideline, use your nose – if something smells OK and looks OK to eat, it probably is. Use by dates though ought to be abided by.
8. Buy the ugly fruit and veg
The wonky veg is most often the kind that ends up in landfill – rescue it, it’ll taste just as good as the aesthetically beautiful stuff.
9. Plan meals ahead, and think about how you could reuse leftovers
If you have a meal plan for the week, it’ll cut down on your fridge filling with random bits of food without a job to do. Also, if you know what you’ve got in, you’ll be able to work out what to do with leftovers too.
10. Keep your fridge tidy
If you can see what you’ve got, use by dates will be easier to access, and you’ll avoid ending up with a salad drawer of green, decaying mush.
11. Make soups, stocks and smoothies
All three can use up tonnes of leftover veggies and fruit on the turn, plus they freeze really well.
If all else fails, everything except meat, fish and dairy can go straight in the compost, so any nutrients can return to the soil.