Tackling food waste

Each year, about 7 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted by UK homes, and more than half of that could have been consumed. Wasting this food costs the average household £470 a year, rising to nearly £700 for a family with children – the equivalent of around £60 a month. As if this cost is not enough, you then pay again to treat the waste – 70% is picked up by the local authority and the rest is poured down the drain.

Food waste makes up around 15% by weight of all household waste in Somerset. Most of this waste occurs through cooking and preparing too much or not using food in time. People are getting more food wise, but there is still more that we can do to make better use of food and save money too.

We throw away more food from our homes than packaging in the UK every year. If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.

Shopping with a list

There are many quick and easy ways to cut down the amount of food we discard and save money too!  Download below tasty recipes or money saving tips for more information.

The best thing that can happen to food is that it makes it to our plates and is enjoyed. However, some food waste is inevitable. Egg shells, banana skins and tea bags are never going to be on the menu. Home composting is a great way to stop this sort of waste ending up in landfill, and our gardens will really thank us for it.

Most residents in Somerset receive a kerbside food collection service. Use this for any food not home composted or eaten. The food waste collected is processed into energy and an agricultural fertilizer.

Money saving tips

Your fridge and freezer can greatly extend the shelf-life of your food at home – reducing the amount you throw away and saving you money on your food bill. Take time to find out what is in your store cupboards – make sure you have enough staple foods to make tasty meals. Don’t forget to use up any items near their ‘use-by’ date or lovely leftovers from a previous meal. Try some of the tasty recipes below to help you get creative in the kitchen.

Fridge and Freezer advice

Let’s all make better use of our fridge and freezer. These cool tips help keep your food fit to eat for longer and save you money. Your fridge is your friend.

To keep your food fresher for longer and at its best, your fridge temperature should be 0 to 5 degrees C. Research shows 30% of our fridges are too warm, this means food won’t last as long as it could. Milk goes off much quicker if your fridge is just a few degrees too warm.

Fresh fruit and veg need to breathe in the fridge, so don’t store them in completely sealed containers. Fruit and veg packaging has been designed to help it stay fresh for longer, so don’t take the packaging off until you’re ready to eat the food.

Once opened, food like cheese and ham keep better if they’re well wrapped by re-closing the pack, wrapping in clingfilm or foil, or putting in an airtight container.

You can freeze it

A survey conducted by Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) found the foods people freeze most often are lamb, beef, fish, seafood, bakery (bread and cakes), chicken and minced meat.

Some people surveyed thought that eggs (20% of respondents), milk (17%), cheese (16%) and fruit (16%) weren’t suitable for freezing. But you can freeze all these things, and more. So, as well as the usual food stuff, try freezing something different. Here are some ideas.

  • Bread – use from frozen as toast or make sandwiches for work – by lunchtime they’ll be defrosted.
  • Eggs – don’t freeze them in the shell. Beat into a mixture or freeze whites and yolks separately. Defrost in the fridge, not at room temperature. Adding salt (for savoury) or sugar (for sweet) stops the yolks going lumpy. Use as you would fresh eggs.
  • Milk – freeze as soon as possible and thaw in the fridge. Plastic containers are okay for freezing milk in, but the milk will expand, so pour out a small amount to allow for this.
  • Cheese – try grating Cheddar cheese before freezing and use as toppings on pizza or shepherd’s pie from frozen. Stilton can be frozen without grating.
  • Fruit – slice and freeze lemons then use them straight from the freezer in iced drinks.
  • Cooked meat – such as chicken or turkey. Thaw in the fridge and use as normal, in casseroles, curries and stews.
  • Potatoes – parboil and freeze them for later, thaw and roast. Mashed potato freezes well. Remember to portion before freezing.
  • Yoghurt – pots can be placed straight in the freezer but the yoghurt will expand, so make sure there’s enough space in the pot for this. If there isn’t, transfer to another container before freezing. Defrost and use in smoothies or straight from frozen as a yoghurt dessert.
Tasty Recipes

UK homes throw away 5.8 million whole potatoes untouched every day, and 24 million whole slices of bread every day. Most food is wasted because we cook more than we need or simply let it go off. Here are a couple of tasty recipes to save the simple spud.

For more money saving tips, visit lovefoodhatewaste.com From their website you can sign up to the Love Food Hate Waste e-newsletter – The Bite or join the Love Food Hate Waste community on social media.

There are lots of ways you can bring the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to life in your community. We offer ready-made display materials, downloadable toolkits and resource materials, quizzes and activities. These are provided free, subject to availability, for use at Somerset events.

We have a wide range of resources we can make available to you.

Ready to use display and activity resources

Click here for a flavour of display items, print materials and other promotional resources offered, subject to availability.

Generally we can post smaller items, however you will need to discuss collection and return arrangements of bulkier display items to us in Taunton.

More resources in electronic format

As well as physical resources, we have a range of resources for download or available via email.

Making the most of the food that we buy is a handy guide to help you run your own Love Food Hate Waste campaign or activities, with ideas to suit a range of audiences and event styles.

Food waste diary – a great challenge to see how much food is really wasted and why this happens.

Love Food Save More toolkit of workshop activities exploring key behaviours to help make the most of food, cut waste and save money. (Laminated versions of cards/games are available for loan) Please request by email.

Cooking course toolkit – provided by Love Food Hate Waste to support kitchen know-how and top tips for good food management. (Can also be used for a workshop environment or cookery demonstrations).

Storage game Somerset – provided by Love Food Hate Waste and adapted by us for Somerset. This game provokes discussion about what to do with leftover items and considers food safety. (Before you print, please note a laminated version of the game is free to hire from SWP along with other display items.)

Six Top Tips for Food – a great poster highlighting key food-saving actions.

How will your group bring Love Food Hate Waste to your community?

We all have some good ideas to share about how to cut down waste and save money.

Simply give a brief description of your plans for your Love Food Hate Waste campaign and tell us how many of the printed materials or other resources you would like, email recycle@somersetwaste.gov.uk quoting “resource materials” in the subject line.