12 food waste tips from eco experts
At Too Good To Go, we strongly believe that practical tips to reduce food waste move the needle when it comes to making an impact. With this in mind, we've collected 12 food waste tips from eco experts like Odile Le Bolloch from the EPA's Stop Food Waste, The Useless Project, Climate Love Ireland and Maurice Mc Geehan, the 'No Waste Chef'.
When it comes to food waste, I once read a quote that stuck with me: “We are trashing our land to grow food that no one eats.” With world hunger on the rise, affecting approximately 9% of people globally, food waste is a deeply unethical issue.
The environmental consequences of all this food waste are also severe. The global food system is responsible for as much as 30% of our global greenhouse gas emissions. Thankfully, as individuals, we have the power to generate positive impact.
Going forward, we must understand our consumption habits, plan our purchases (and stick to the plan when our shopping!) and avoid wastage by using every single bit of our food.
- Pat Kane, sustainability strategist, speaker and founder of reuzi, Ireland's leading one-stop shop for sustainably-made and reusable goods
Commercial kitchens are notorious for producing large amounts of food waste, from vegetable & fruit peelings, meat trimmings, fish bones, milk, stale breads, excess food stock etc.
Breaking the thought process that people are used to and looking at these foods in another way, treating them as an ingredient rather than waste is the beginning of change. At FoodSpace we treat all food as exactly that… Food!
- Grainne Carberry, director of Food Services at FoodSpace, an award-winning, sustainable, on--site food service and hospitality management company
Knowing what meals you’re going to eat will help you save time, money and feel more organised. If you know what meals you’re going to eat you’re less likely to buy extra food you don’t need, and more likely to use the food you already have.
Whether you prefer to keep things flexible or you love to have everything organised, there are simple steps you can take to make planning meals a bit easier. Check out stopfoodwaste.ie to find out how to plan your meals in a way that works for you.
- Odile Le Bolloch from EPA’s Stop Food Waste programme, the national campaign on how to make the most of your food and avoid food waste at home
One of the easiest ways I find to cut down on food waste is simply to buy what you need and eat what you buy.
Making sure that you’ve made the most out of your ingredients from your supermarket shop is a really easy way of reducing food waste and it can be fun to get creative in the kitchen! Embrace the chance to explore new ways of working with ingredients.
Why not have a go at making a broccoli pesto using the broccoli stalks that you’d usually throw away, or keeping the peel on your potatoes when you’re mashing them? Little changes like these really can make all the difference.
- Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go, our very own food-saving app
It’s really important to remember that you shouldn’t do your weekly shop on a empty stomach because you often buy things that you will not eat and will go off. That can lead to wasted food and wasted money.
If you eat or drink water before going shopping, you won’t be as hungry and won’t buy things you can’t eat, and by not wasting food you are helping to save the planet.
- Flossie Donnelly, environmental activist and founder of Flossie and the Beach Cleaners
Rotating your food items and using older produce first is always a good idea. If you can, it’s great to meal plan for the week while leaving a day or two blank in between to make something exciting out of the left-overs.
I like to freeze down my roasted chicken carcasses until I have enough to make stock for different styles soups, once you get used to doing something like this, it becomes the norm, and you do it without thinking.
- Maurice Mc Geehan, the 'No Waste Chef' and performance chef for the IRFU, producing sustainable, delicious, nutritious food with no waste
Know the difference between “best before” and “use by” labels, as mixing the two up can lead to a lot of unnecessary waste. By and large, what you need to remember is that the date on the “use by” label is really important. This date refers to food safety should absolutely be followed, whilst “best before” is more an indication of when the item will be at its “prime”.
Unlike Cinderella, the food will not go off at midnight so use your senses and give it a sniff or taste to see before you immediately throw it out after the “best before” date has passed!
- Geraldine Carton and Taz Kelleher, co-founders of The Useless Project, which helps people take steps toward more sustainable living through tutorials, workshops and tips on upcycling, reuse and reducing waste
Learn how to store your food correctly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. With many foods there is some on pack instruction, such as store in a cool dry place and many of us rarely follow this advice, so the first and easiest thing to do is check your packaging.
When using your fridge, there are some easy tips that can make a big difference. Don’t overcrowd the fridge and don’t press items up against the back or sides - this allows the cool air to move around.
- Declan Breen, Waste Prevention Officer at MyWaste, an information portal surrounding managing your waste from the Department of Climate Action, Communications and the environment
For us, the biggest food waste is not utilising the whole fish. When processing other proteins, we make sausages, roast bones for sauces and more, and with seafood and fish, it’s the very same.
We ignore so many amazing cuts like cheeks, collars and tails which are prized elsewhere in the world but we sadly ignore.
Keep your bones and shells and make beautiful bouillabaisse or shellfish sauce to go with another meal.
Next time you’re in your fishmonger, ask for some of these and we promise you won’t be disappointed.
- Niall Sabongi, chef and founder of Sustainable Seafood Ireland, sustainably-sourced seafood and fish suppliers
Many of us store apples and oranges in the fruit bowl, right? Well, they will stay fresher for longer – sometimes WEEKS longer – in the fridge at <5°C.
Remember, the main reason we waste food is ‘not used in time’ and we waste loads of fresh fruit and veg. The only fresh produce exceptions to the ‘in the fridge’ rule are bananas and whole pineapple (room temperature) and onions (cool, dry place).
Love Food Hate Waste’s A – Z of Food Storage is here to help.
- Helen White, Special Advisor at Love Food Hate Waste, an initiative aiming to deliver sustained behaviour change through food waste prevention campaigns to encourage citizens to reduce household food waste
One of my favourite food waste prevention tips is mastering the art of a good, hearty veg soup!
Whenever I have access vegetables etc in the fridge - before buying more and throwing the old ones out - I'll improvise a minestrone style soup to make sure I use up everything.
If there's any leftovers I freeze them. This is great when you have less time to cook, to know there's a quick, homemade meal ready to go when needed.
- Laragh McCann, founder of grassroots climate action community, Climate Love Ireland
My best food waste prevention tip is to be mindful of what food you are buying - ask yourself do I really need this plastic bag of 6 carrots or would I suffice with buying 3 loose ones? This mindful mindset can prevent food from being wasted.
- Rachel Loughrey, creator of Ecohun, a social media community full of tips and discussion surrounding climate action
I firmly believe it is time to reimagine how we use ingredients in the kitchen. It is important to use the whole ingredient and recognise the potential of that food. There are some great techniques that can be utilised such as fermentation and vinegars.
We can make use of all those nutritious veggie peels to add to your dish or save them to make our very own stock from scratch.
- Amy Irwin, food safety consultant and sustainability expert with more than 10 years industry experience and founder of Conscious Kitchens
Another way to reduce food waste?
Save food from your favourite restaurants, cafés, grocers and bakeries using Too Good To Go!