Can we stop wasting food for Lent? #giveupbinningfood
In association with Love Food Hate Waste
Five slices of bread gone mouldy. One green pepper all wrinkly and soft. Three eggs past their use by date. A slice of ham lost at the back of the fridge. Half a bag of thyme leaves, left over from a recipe and forgotten about. Plus the obligatory couple of carrots all wrinkly, bendy and soft.
That’s just some of the food that has been wasted in our house in the last couple of weeks.
Not to mention the various meals my children didn’t finish and which were scraped off their plates straight into the food recycling bin. And the chicken my husband was supposed to put in the freezer in the garage, but accidentally left on the work surface for two days instead.
Writing it all down in black and white is mortifying!
I like to think I am food waste aware. I have done the whole weekly meal planning thing for years. I batch cook and freeze in individual or family portions. I measure out portions of pasta, rice, peas and so on before cooking. I eat random ensembles of left overs for lunch all the time. I freeze food I don’t think we’ll eat in time. I buy loose vegetables and fruit, according to our need, rather than big pre-packed bags that might not get eaten in time. I keep the skins on carrots when making soup, and on potatoes when making mash.
I do all of that… and still I find the food waste bin fuller than I’d like.
I’m all too familiar with the statistics on food waste. In the UK in 2015 alone, £13 billion of edible food was thrown away from our homes. That’s a total of 7.3 million tonnes of food (400,000 tonnes of that in Wales alone), which if prevented, would have the same environmental benefit of taking one in four cars off the road. I know that cutting back on food waste could save households up to £15 a week – a whopping £60 a month – or £700 a year!
I know all of this, I really do… yet still I find myself binning food that should not really be binned.
This is what £15 worth of food – the amount wasted by the average household every week – looks like.
You wouldn’t willingly chuck all of that in the bin, but those few tomatoes and a soggy cucumber here, half a loaf of stale bread and unfinished meals scraped into the food recycling bin there, all add up.
It’s something I am increasingly conscious of, both from an environmental and ethical standpoint, and a financial one too.
I know it’s a cliché to say it, but there are people in the world – indeed, in this country – who are starving and would find the idea of people throwing food away so much food obscene.
So I was only too happy to take up Love Food Hate Waste’s Give Up Binning Food Instead Lent challenge. Instead of the typical giving up chocolate or alcohol in the run-up to Easter, the organisation is asking people to do something more beneficial and drastically reduce the amount of food that is wasted.
Our challenge officially runs for 40 days, from Wednesday 1st March until Thursday 13th April. Each week will take a different theme, as follows:
Week 1 Meal planning – when’s this for?
Week 2 Storage – where should I put this?
Week 3 Fridge focus – how do I make the most of my fridge?
Week 4 Portioning – how much should I use?
Week 5 Food labels – what do they mean?
Weeks 6/7 Leftovers – what can I do with my ingredients?
But, I’m not waiting until Lent to get started. Being involved in this campaign has really made me consider the food we are wasting – so we’re trying to reduce our waste already.
As a family, we’ve spoken about the impact of food waste and have identified areas where we could improve.
We’ll be reporting on how we get on over the next six weeks. We’ll be sharing some of our favourite recipes and simple hacks for using up food nearing the end of its shelf life, how to safely and hygienically store left over food, and more.
Can we achieve zero food waste? We’re certainly going to do our best!
I’d love it if you could join in with the 40-day challenge and share your own tips on reducing food waste.
You can sign up on the Love Food Hate Waste website here. You’ll receive regular emails where you can get advice and support throughout the campaign, including 40 tips and suggestions to help your challenge. There’s loads more information on the website to get you started too.
As you’ll know if you read Cardiff Mummy Says regularly, world events have left me feeling so overwhelmed and helpless recently. I’m focusing on the small positive changes I can make that will make a difference – and this really is something simple that will make a massive difference. In the words of Love Food Hate Waste, let’s change the world one meal at a time.
Do let me know if you sign up for the challenge either in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy
You can follow Love Food Hate Waste on Twitter and Facebook and the hashtag #giveupbinningfood
this sounds like a great initiative. I can’t believe we throw away so much but then complain about the cost of the food shop. I am getting much better at batch cooking and freezing but need to do more 🙂 x
Yes, it’s very ironic that we often fail to correlate the two! I am looking forward to taking on this challenge and making positive changes.
Good luck! It sounds like a great challenge for Lent. I feel like we don’t throw a lot of food away, but I’m sure if I actually started noting it down I’d have a shock. looking forward to seeing how you get on.
Yes, that’s exactly it. When I wrote it all down, it really shocked me! I like to think of myself of being waste aware, but there is definite room for improvement.
I’m pretty good with waste, but that’s because my dog tends to have the leftovers, and I’m a big fan of meal planning. I’ve signed up though x
Amazing! Go you! I think we should all think more about the waste we produce x
I do end up throwing away a lot of mouldy bread. We never seem to finish a loaf in time! Eggs and stuff I still use though. My nana doesn’t throw out anything and she’s still going strong xx
This is a GREAT initiative!
I usually freeze the bread in slices (it it comes sliced already it’s perfect) and every morning I just pop 1 or 2 slices on the toaster and that’s it, you’ll never have problems with mouldy bread again.
Oh, the bendy carrots. We’ve had too many of them to even begin to excuse recently. Good luck with the challenge. Small changes always make a big difference so don’t underestimate them!
This sounds great. We try as a household to cut back on waste because it is money we really can’t afford to throw away. 🙂 x
I think I’m quite good with waste – I have lots of recipes to use things up and I often have my slow cooker on overnight using up food before it goes off x x
I really hate buying food and throwing it away. I’m trying to be so much more conscious.
This sounds like a great challenge. I hate food waste an dwe try to meal plan but we can always do better. Good luck!
I love this photo so post. we Are actually pretty good at not having food waste.
This is such a good idea and a great thing to raise awareness of. I have to say I’ve got better at food wastage since meal planning. I really need to make the most of my fridge though x
I meal plan so good with that, but I find its fruit that goes off before we be eaten it all. I buy ones and we don’t get through it quick enough. I need to learn how much we can eat and stop wasting it.