Food waste saving tips

We want to help residents make their food budgets stretch further by passing on top tips to help reduce the amount of food that ends up being thrown away in the bin.

It’s said that a third of the food people buy ends up being thrown away in the bin unnecessarily. Not only would it be better for the environment if it was eaten, it would save households money.

The average household of four people could save £60 every month (£720 per year) by reducing the amount of food thrown away.

Check out the tips below to know the best ways to plan, shop, store and use food so less of it ends up in the bin and more money is left in your pocket. 

Test your food saving knowledge

Plan wisely

  • One of the top reasons we throw away food is because we simply buy too much before we can use it up. So, before you do your food shop, spend a bit of time planning the weekly meals in advance. 
  • Check the fridge, cupboards and freezer first as meals can be planned around what needs using up. 
  • Once you know what’s on the menu, make a shopping list so you’ll buy only the things you need.

Shop smart

  • At the food store, stick to the shopping list you made to avoid buying thins you don’t need.
  • Before putting an item in your basket, look to see if there is the same product on the shelf with a better use by or best before date - a few days could make all the difference.
  • Sense check special offers. It’s not a bargain if you aren’t going to use it before it goes off.
  • If possible, buy fruit and veg loose so you take just what you need. Larger packs might appear to be better value, but if you’re regularly throwing away a few slices of bread at the end of a loaf, or your last few carrots are going a bit floppy, it’s a false economy. 

Store right

  • Check the packaging for how to store foods, most now say where best to put it to make it last as long as possible. Did you know banana’s make other things near them ripen faster and bread goes stale quicker if stored in the fridge?
  • Check your fridge temperature. 0-5 degrees is the best to keep food fresher for longer.
  • Know your date labels. ‘Best before’ means your food is at its best before this date, but it can still be ok to eat after this time. Trust your senses instead of the date. Food shouldn’t be eaten after the ‘Use by’ date though.
  • If you aren’t going to eat foods before they go off, pop them in the freezer for another day. Almost anything can be frozen – even eggs, milk, bread and cheese!

Eat everything

  • Regularly pop your head in the fridge and cupboards throughout the week to check what needs using up. There are lots of recipes online, just type the ingredients that need to be used into a search engine and viola! - instant inspiration. Smoothies or soups are a quick and easy way to use up foods looking past their best.
  • Often our eyes are bigger than our bellies and we cook too much food. Ask yourself, how many times have you done too much rice or pasta which ends up in the bin. Get your portions right and measure or weigh the foods before cooking so you don’t do more than you need.  
  • Love your leftovers. Last night’s dinner could be lunch the next day. Don’t fancy it? Then freeze it for another time. 

Use your brown food waste bin

  • Using your food waste bin can help you see more clearly what foods aren’t getting used in time or what you cook too much of regularly. You may think you don’t waste much but may be surprised what you notice once you see the bin filling up.
  • Even if you do everything you can to reduce the food you throw away, there will always be some things that you simply can’t eat. Eggshells, teabags, chicken bones, onion skins…these are unavoidable and can all go into your brown food waste bin. If you don’t currently receive free weekly food waste collections sign up here

You can find lot’s more advice on how to reduce the amount of food you throw away at the Love Food Hate Waste website.