With the nation living and working at home, new research has revealed that household waste has increased by some 30 per cent.
But there are some things you can do to manage what you throw away, with food waste experts at Warrens Group sharing their lifestyle hacks so you can get productive with your produce and save on your weekly spend.
- Use intelligent ingredients: First up, write a list of the key ingredients you need. Swap fresh produce, which has a short shelf life, to versatile ingredients that can be reused. Beans, nuts and pulses are perfect for curries, soups and even spruce up salads. Many of us forget about frozen goods, such as sliced bread, pre-prepped vegetables and frozen berries; not only will the frozen option last longer but you can use what you need as you go, and the remainder will not be spoilt.
- Prop up your pantry produce: The experts recommend the ‘three Ps’ – pickling, preserving and propagating. Pickling works best for vegetables that are starting to soften, such as onions, beetroots and cauliflowers. All you need to do is peel, and boil, before allowing to cool and popping in vinegar with seasoning. This process can keep your produce fresh for up to one and in some cases, two years. Preserving works best for berries past their best as they make the most delicious jam. Apricots and plums work well too. You can also salvage your vegetables this way, but rather than jam cook up homemade chutneys. Leftover aubergines, peppers and onions are most suited to this. Then prop up your plates with propagation. This simple method allows you to regrow staple salad ingredients. Keep your leftover lettuce, celery and spring onion roots and place in individual clear containers with some water and lots of sunlight; windowsills and balconies work well. Change the water daily and as the days pass, you will begin to see the stem sprout. Once the sprout has grown and the roots begin to show, you can then plant the produce in your garden.
- Everlasting everyday essentials: For products such as potatoes, try and buy a large paper bag, pop an apple in the bag once open and keep in a dark place. The spuds will last longer, and the apple will delay any unwanted sprouts. Try wrapping the top of your unripe bananas in cling film, this slows the ripening process, so they won’t ruin as quickly. Or you can freeze chopped ripe bananas for smoothies and banana bread. Instead of packet herbs, purchase herbs as plants, which will last longer and save you money, and switch up your dairy shopping and try fermented products such as kefi, cottage cheese and sour cream. You will see you get your vitamins from these products and they will last longer.
- Make a meal of it: Get clever in the kitchen by planning your weekly meals in advance. Not only will this reduce your household’s snacking, but your cooking time and shopping spend. Use tinned fruits and oats to create a batch of muesli for the week ahead, or mix together your dried fruits, nuts and rice to make granola.
- And now for that load of rubbish: It’s time to create (if you haven’t already), a compost bin or heap. Place all organic waste, from unusable greens and produce to eggshells, tea bags and even ground coffee here, pop it all together and turn every week. In a month or so, you will have compost fit for your potted plants or balcony flower beds. For the unsalvageable, be sure to recycle as much as you can, from tins to glass bottles and newspapers. Don’t forget to minimise your plastic waste by using the same reusable shopping bag or even a basket – you’ll save your pennies, whilst doing your bit for the environment. If access to food waste collection is a possibility, then there is also the option for it to be converted into renewable energy.