Food waste might not seem like a huge deal at the individual level, but it adds up. In the UK, we throw away roughly 7 million tonnes of food and drink a year. The production of food requires a lot of resources, including land, water, and labour, so when food is wasted, so is everything that goes into it. In addition, with the cost of living crisis, food prices are extremely high. So learning how to cut back is good for the environment and it saves you money. Here are some practical tips for how you can reduce food waste within your student household.
Plan out your meals before you go to buy groceries. This not only makes the shopping process easier, but it also prevents you from overbuying or grabbing something impulsively that you don’t really need. Investing the time to make more frequent trips to the grocery store can also help prevent bulk buying, which leads to food waste.
Get the most out of your storage
A considerable amount of food becomes spoiled because people don’t know how to store it properly. Items such as tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, cucumbers, and onions should be stored at room temperature. For refrigerated items, check that the temperature of your fridge is set correctly. Your freezer can also be a great asset to make the most of your perishable foods, and can preserve them for long periods of time.
Try smaller portions
When we’re hungry, it’s easy to serve up a large heaping plate, but often after we’ve eaten part of it, we realise we don’t have the appetite that we thought. Try serving up a small portion to start with, and you can always go back for seconds if you’re still hungry. Reducing student food waste starts with us realising that our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs.
Share with others
If you’ve got extra food you’re not going to eat, check in with a friend or neighbor and see if they want it. Not only does this reduce food waste, but it’s also a great way to get to know one another better. If you’re a student and are currently sharing a house with others, it is even easier to pass your unwanted food on rather than throwing it away.
Some food waste is always going to be inevitable, and what you do with that food waste matters. If it is available to you, compost the food rather than throwing it away. This allows the food to become soil, which is better for the ecosystem than if it ends up in a landfill.
See also: How Meal Prep Can Save You Money