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Waste Less, Live More: The true cost of food waste

From stale bread to soggy lettuce, an average family in the UK wastes an estimated £800 worth of food that could otherwise have been eaten each year. For the average person, the value of food wasted is estimated to be £230 each year. But, there are some simple steps we can all take to help reduce the amount of food we waste and hopefully save ourselves some money in the process.

One way you can help reduce food waste is simply by planning out your weekly meals and ingredients you need before you go shopping. Planning meals around 'common' ingredients - think pasta, rice, beans, potatoes - is a good place to start and will help stop them from ending up in the bin. Another trick is to go shopping in your own pantry and plan meals around ingredients you already have at home. If you’ve got a few carrots left in the fridge, you could make a soup with them, or if the bananas are looking a bit brown, don't chuck them out, turn them into banana bread. Get your housemates or family members at home involved in the planning process and get them to pick a few meals that they’d like to cook themselves, it’ll free up some time for you and they'll be able to think about the food they’re eating too.

Once you’ve planned your meals don't forget to write a shopping list and stick to it when you're in the supermarket. We all know how tempting those two-for-one offers are, but do you really need that extra packet of lettuce? By sticking to your shopping list you can avoid having too much food left over at the end of the week, which could end up going unused. Another tactic is to not shop when you're hunrgy - trust us, it works!

Inevitably, there's likely to always be a bit of food which goes unused. Don't feel disheartened, there is a better option than putting it in your regular rubbish bin. If your local authority offers food waste collection, you could recycle it through this service, or try composting. By recycling or composting your food waste, you also benefit from waste bin being lighter and less smelly, especially in the summer.

Writted by James McMahon, Project Manager - Waste Insights.

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