It has been estimated that people in western civilisations eat around four pounds of food per day. But, how much of this is wasted and simply chucked away? It can be mind-boggling to think about how much food we throw away, and also how this is bad for the environment. It has become part of our culture to throw away parts of our food that we think we cannot eat, for example, potato skins, lettuce cores, broccoli stalks and leftovers. Food waste, though biodegradable, releases methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Simply washing these scraps of vegetables and investing in biodegradable freezer bags or freezer-friendly tupperware can help.
Below, we have put together some zero waste ideas to reduce your food waste and give new life to your meals.
Utilise some old jam jars and store cupboard essentials to make spicy and sweet pickles with your leftover and scrap vegetables. For instance, turn carrot skins and cabbage into tasty and tangy pickles for salads and Asian dishes. All you need for a basic but perfect brine is a form of vinegar – from white vinegar to apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar – equal amounts of water and any old herbs, dried chillies, and a teaspoon of sugar.
You will find that, for any zero waste living, your food processor will become your best friend and most used appliance in the kitchen. Simply any old greens can be quickly whizzed into a delicious pesto with olive oil, nuts and hard cheese (or nutritional yeast if you are vegan). Add stems and leaves of root vegetables like radishes, carrots and beetroot. Simply washing them and storing them in the freezer before making the pesto will do just the trick. Infact, your freezer will also become a good friend of yours in the zero-waste process, aptly leading us onto…
This may seem hyperbolic, but it is the truth – you will simply start needing to freeze any leftovers you have so they don’t go mouldy in the fridge and you can utilise them for later recipes. Freezing goes hand in hand with planning ahead and measuring your food before you start cooking – so you don’t create more food than is needed. Invest in freezer-friendly containers that will store fruit, vegetables, herbs, leftover portions and other bits.
A handy tip is also purchasing ice trays and ice lolly containers that can freeze any small amounts of leftover liquids. For example, tiny portions of wine, coconut milk, yoghurt, creams and juices. You can use the frozen wine for stocks and gravies, coconut milk and dairy products for curries, and juices for smoothies or if you want to add a sugary twist to a meal.
Here at Devon Contract Waste, we are passionate about helping you reduce your food waste. Based in Plymouth, we can help homes and businesses reduce the excessive throwing away of perishables, helping you save money and the planet. To find out more about what else we do, simply contact us today.