How to reduce your food waste and environmental impact

In the United Kingdom alone, an estimated 8.4 million people struggle to afford to pay for their food – that’s equivalent to the entire population of London. What’s more, an incredible 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted every year by the food industry, with a third of all food produced globally going in the bin. But there are ways to reduce your food waste – below, we have put together some of the biggest. Try them out to reduce your carbon footprint…

Plan your meals in advance

Do you visit the local supermarket with a list and a plan for your meals, or do you make it up as you go along? We all need to be spontaneous from time to time, but deciding what meals you’ll have in advance means that you’ll only buy the ingredients you need when you’re doing your weekly shop. An added benefit is that you won’t be tempted to fill your basket with lots of unhealthy snacks and desserts; go in armed with an idea of the food you need, and you’ll soon be out of the door and back at home, ready to start preparing your dinner.

Buy food locally

Another way to reduce your environmental impact is to buy locally. It’s believed that the meals in the United States travel about 1,500 miles to get from the farm to plate, which is insane. Buying from local producers not only benefits the economy but helps you to eat well and cut your food miles. From milk delivery in Aberdeen to London lemonade makers, there are so many ways that you can source ingredients closer to home – and avoid waste, too!

Try meat-free evenings

Meat is one of the biggest polluters in the food chain, so consider vegan dinner recipes that can reduce your carbon footprint. Another benefit to going vegan a couple of times per week, aside from the health benefits of cutting your meat intake, is that fruit and vegetables, as well as foods like rice and pasta, often has a much better shelf-life than meat. From veggie burritos to noodle salads, there are so many delicious options for you to devour! 

Freeze it

We all lead such busy lifestyles nowadays, and from time to time, we’ll likely make too much food or realise that we’ve got a chicken in the fridge that needs to be eaten tomorrow. Rather than throwing away leftovers and short-dated produce, freeze it so it can be used for another meal. Research the recommendations for each food type online – some meats need to be stored in a particular way to retain their nutritional value. Adding labels to leftover food boxes is another good idea; you can freeze some leftover lasagne for an easy lunch on the go!

Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know and check back to Food Chain Magazine.