food waste

Clearing Out, Wasting Less, Using Common Sense

For months and months the idea to use my blogs to promote reducing food waste was brewing in my mind. Finally, back in October, I started a monthly linked called Clear Out And Eat (#ClearOutAndEat).
The thinking behind the title is that we should clear out our fridges and presses and see what we have before buying in more and more food. There is almost always something that can be made with the food we have. From soups to stews, smoothies and scones, with a bit of thought and creativity we can use up what we have and bin less food. 

People have become so accustomed to having choice and to doing whatever they feel like that the idea of waste not, want not has been pretty much forgotten. In a report a few years I read that the Germans throw away over 20% of their food purchases due to poor planning*. I mean, THE GERMANS! If their planning is poor, how bad is everyone else’s?
Speaking of want not, yesterday I spotted on Twitter that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a new series on the BBC called Hugh’s War on Waste. It started last Monday, apparently, with a look at the staggering quantity of food that is wasted in the UK each year (1/3 of the food!**) and continues tonight at 9pm GMT. Look up #wastenot on Twitter for information from the series.

It sickens me that so much food is wasted. So what if we haven’t got the food we want in the house? Is that reason enough to let dairy products pass their use by date and or let fruit and vegetables shrivel up and rot? No!. 

So I urge you to be a bit more careful when shopping and cooking.  Use a bit of common sense. Buy what you know you’ll use. Cook with what you have and only cook the amount you’ll eat. If there are leftovers, freeze them for another day or reinvent them as another dish for the followng day.


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French supermarket Intermarche is doing its part for food waste reduction by selling the vegetables that usually wouldn’t have met the criteria that the large supermarket chains set for growers***. They have made a point of promoting these so-called ugly vegetables. The idea is brilliant, although I must admit that I hate the term ugly vegetables. In fruit and vegetables, looks shouldn’t be important, rather the nutritional value.

** Source www.bbc.co.uk

And then the fun began... 

6 thoughts on “Clearing Out, Wasting Less, Using Common Sense

  1. great issue to support. not only is the waste sad but wasteful to your wallet too! I started dividing my shopping into 2 days a week (or more if needed) instead of 1 because I was wasting produce. Its painful to drag kids to the store so often but its important to practice and teach. I'm going to check out your clear out and eat linky, sounds inspiring! #thetruthabout

  2. That's really interesting Fionnuala. I do a weekly meal plan and try to only buy what will be used but goodness knows my cupboards are absolutely stuffed with things that never seem to get used and I really need to have a clear out. It *is* shocking the food that gets chucked out because of 'ugliness' or super cautious 'use by' dates. We really need to get a new freezer because the way things are with our old one now it is hard to get anything more in there – I dream of freezer space for batch cooking and leftovers. Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout – will have to check out your linky!

  3. Thanks Melissa. I do a few shops a week now too. It makes more sense to buy as I need rather than bulk buy, even if it is more time-consuming.
    Do check out my linky. I'd love you to join #clearoutandeat

  4. I go through bouts of meal planning and then lose my way again. But it is a great idea. I'd love you to link your a meal plan post to #clearoutandeat. It might get me back on that track too. I#m in the same freezer position as you too 🙂
    The waste is truly awful. We should all do our bit.

  5. I absolutely hate wasting food and I'm very careful of what fresh food I buy, especially vegetables. I use my freezer (and the kids lunch boxes!) for left overs and if veg in the fridge isn't going to get used I chop it, portion it and pop in the freezer. Added bonus of that is it makes cooking much faster 🙂 I worked as a consultant for WRAP when I was in the UK (on the construction waste side) but I knew people in their food waste teams, which made me even more mindful. One thing I love about the US approach to dining out is the expectation that you will box and take left overs home with you, and we always do this when we've eaten out (the portions are often so huge!). I wish this was more common in the UK. #truthabout

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