Wasting food costs your household money, squanders the environmental impacts of growing food and occurs at the same time other people in our community do not have enough food. We developed a calculator that takes actual waste composition data to measure these impacts.
Using this calculator, the average London household throws out 125kg/year or about 2.4 kg/week of food that could have been eaten. This food:
Is worth about $600 per year per household (or about $75 million dollars in the City of London)
Is equivalent to about 320 meals per year or 1 meal per day
Requires about 0.6 acres of farmland to grow
To compare your household food waste composition to average London households click here.
In our recent household food waste survey, that your household completed, we learned that saving money was a key food waste reducing motivator for London households. We have delivered a household food waste reduction tool kit to help your household reduce food waste and save money. For details click here.
Fortunately, the solutions to reducing the amount of food that becomes waste are simple. We have assembled some great resources to help your household reduce the amount of food that becomes waste. As well, we have identified some possible free and for purchase apps that may be helpful (we don't have an interest in or endorse these apps).
(Click the relevant tip for more detail)
Tip# 1. Plan your meals ahead of time. This helps determine how much food you need.
Tip# 2. Make a grocery list and stick to it. No point spending money if you don't need to.
Tip#3. Store your food properly. You just bought it, let's keep it edible for as long as possible.
Tip#4. Prepare just enough. Unless you love leftovers, too much just means money in the garbage.
Tip#5. Eat those leftovers. No point putting your shopping, storage and cooking efforts in the garbage.
Household Food Waste Composition
We have developed a tool that will help you compare your food waste composition to the average London households.
Estimate the per-cent of your household's food waste that is:
LEGEND: Breakdown of estimated food waste at your household                                 Average London household
NOTE:This tool uses average household food waste composition data, gathered in London. Depending on how much food your household throws out this estimate could be lower or higher than the amount shown.
Food Waste Reduction Tool Kit
We have provided you with a Food Waste Reduction Kit to get you started. Here are some of the key items:
Fridge Magnet and Post Card to remind you how to reduce food waste
Some of you will have received a Rubbermaid Freshworks to help get you started. See inside container for instructions or here:http://bit.ly/2wBXdTM
Meal planning/grocery list pads and freezer stickers
Some of you will have received additional containers and items to help you reduce your food waste
TIP#1 PLAN YOUR MEALS AHEAD OF TIME
A bit of planning can go a long way to helping you minimize the amount of food that becomes waste.
What is your family going to eat in the coming week? Planning this will help you develop accurate grocery lists and buy only the food you need. There are a number of handy meal planning apps including: Mealime http://www.mealime.com and Mealplan http://bit.ly/2tVkv79
Create a grocery list (and stick to it) based on a meal plan, taking into account food you already have on hand before your trip to the grocery store. There a number of handy shopping list apps including: https://www.shoppinglistapp.com
We are often tempted by "in-store specials", 2 for 1 deals and other sales. They can save you money if you eat all of the food. If you buy too much it actually ends up costing you more money as well as resulting in food waste
Money saving tip! Purchasing imperfect fruits and vegetables save you money while not losing out on nutritional value of the food.
You've just spent a lot of money buying food for yourself or your family. Proper storage can help food last longer so that it ends up in your stomach and not the garbage.
To increase the lifespan of food products, fridges should be kept at or just below 4.4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) and freezers should be kept at -18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit).
High humidity drawers should be used for fruits and vegetables that typically wilt (i.e. carrots, leafy greens, broccoli, cucumber, green beans).
Low humidity drawers should be used for fruits and vegetables that typically rot (i.e. pears, apples, grapes, mushrooms, peppers, lemons).
The coldest part of the fridge is directly about the bottom drawers and should be used for meat, poultry or fish. The middle shelves are second coldest and should be used to store eggs, milk and other dairy products. The top shelf is the warmest shelf in the fridge and should be reserved for leftovers or items that are readily consumable (i.e. drinks, field berries).
It is very important to not overfill your fridge. Overfilling of a fridge causes a lack of cold air circulation, which causes food to perish earlier.
Berries should never be washed unless they are to be used right away. Washing and placing back in the fridge has been found to cause an increase in mold formation.
Cheese should never be exposed to the air or skin. Contact with cheese causes a bacterial reaction which leads to premature mold on the cheese. The trick for cheese is to cut only what is needed with a knife, without removing the wrapping or touching the cheese that is to not be used right away.
Bread, potatoes, pineapples and onions are best stored in cool, dry places and not in the fridge.
Bananas, apples and tomatoes all produce natural gases which cause surrounding produce to ripen faster, therefore they should be stored separately.
Raw foods that are cooked can be refrozen, or raw frozen foods that are then cooked can be refrozen (i.e. taco meat, spaghetti sauce from frozen ground beef).
You don't need to be Gordon Ramsay (or take his abuse) to cook up a great meal. Unless you are a big leftover eater the key to reducing the amount of food that becomes waste is making sure you know how to prepare just enough.
Some of the information from planning your meals (Tip#1) can get you started.
Adults eat about 750 grams per meal. We have a tendency to make more food, than necessary, when at home because we are concerned about running out. To avoid this try cooking 20-30% less than you normally would. http://bit.ly/2tryIoX
Some of us are great cooks, some of us not so much. That said with a little practice we can all do it. For some great kitchen tips see http://bit.ly/2uv25LX
TIP#5 EAT THOSE LEFTOVERS
If you went to all the effort to buy it and then prepare try your best to make sure it all gets eaten.
Brown-bag them for work or school for a free packed lunch. If you don't want to eat leftovers the day after they're cooked, freeze and save them for later (just remember to note when you froze them so you can use them up in a timely fashion).
Check out this comprehensive infographic that provides you with tips on how to use your leftover food http://bit.ly/2v4jV5I