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8 Simple Ways To Help Reduce Your Food Waste

Dani VennFamily, Health

One of my pet hates is throwing out fresh food. It breaks my heart to see wilted lettuce in my fridge, shrivelled apples in my fruit bowl or mouldy bread in my bread bin. Even though most of us don’t consider food waste to be a problem in our homes, Australian’s throw out an estimated $10 billion worth of edible food per year, that’s $1000 worth of food per household, which is a problem worth trying to solve.

One company that is playing their part is Fresh Paper, a simple piece of biodegradable paper that you can pop in your veggie crisper, fruit bowl or bread bin or bag to help keep food fresher for longer. How awesome is that?

Thanks to Fresh Paper I’ve been inspired to share some of my simple tips on how you can reduce food waste in your household. I’d love to hear your tips too, make sure to connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or leave your comments below!

Be smart when storing your food. I’ve recently discovered a nifty new product called Fresh Paper that naturally keeps your produce fresh up to 2 – 4 times longer, reducing your food waste by up to 50%. They are handy little sheets that you can keep in the fridge drawer, bottom of your fruit bowl, bag of salad leaves or even a bread bag or bin. Fresh Paper contains organic spices that keep food fresh without any chemicals or nasties and they are fully biodegradable and compostable. You can learn more and pick up some for yourself for as little as $2 a week from Fresh Paper.

Look in your fridge, freezer and pantry before going to the shops. What do you have already? Forgotten food is one of the key reasons food ends up in the bin. Take a look at what you have and brainstorm a few simple dishes around it. If you aren’t creative in the kitchen, Google a few key fresh ingredients that you have already and see what recipes pop up that might inspire you.

Make friends with food scraps. Have you got half a left over zucchini, some withered celery or a carrot on the verge of being able to bend like Beckham? Think about how you can add them simply into your meal – can you add food scraps raw into a salad, grate into a pasta sauce or throw them into a soup stock? Even if you don’t usually use those ingredients in a dish, recipes can be adapted easily.

Buy some under ripe produce. Think about things that go off quickly, especially in summer months, stone fruit might feel hard at the shops but will quickly ripen in a fruit bowl, bananas over ripen quickly and god forbid a $4 avocadoes turns brown on your before you get the chance to eat it. In saying this, make sure to wait till the fruit is ripe before you eat it.

Less is more. Sometimes I go a bit overboard and get overexcited buying too much fresh produce if something is on special or but the chances of it getting wasted only increase. So buy only what you realistically need before it has a chance to end up in the bin.

Do some basic food prep. I know, food prep, yawn. But the chances of a carrot or cucumber being eaten as a snack by my husband or little girl is about 1000 times more likely if it has been chopped up (by me!) and stored in a clear container within eye sight in the fridge. Also means wholefoods are more likely to be eaten as a convenient snack rather than packaged food. You can also pop a piece of Fresh Paper (see below) in your container to keep your snacks lasting longer!

Use your freezer. If you see some fresh produce going off in your fridge – freeze it. This is particularly good for produce that are on their last legs, like berries, broccoli or cauliflower, beans or peas, basically anything that you can throw in a snap lock bag and add to a stir-fry, meat and bread.

Understand where food comes from. If you’ve ever had a crack at growing your own produce, rearing your own animals or making your own bread you’ll know how much time, love and environmental resources go into it. When you do have an understanding of this, the likelihood of you throwing out a few leftover strawberries, bunch of herbs, leftover meat or bread will reduce significantly. Watch some docos on food waste like Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Wasted’, The War on Waste or Just Eat It, for a bit of informative entertainment!

And lastly, after doing what you can to reduce food waste, make sure you invest in a small compost bin that you can keep on your kitchen bench or near your rubbish bin so that when you need to discard food scraps they are being put to good use. Empty compost into your green bin, add to a big compost bin to use in your garden as fertilizer or donate your food scraps to someone that has chooks to feed (like my mum!) Then your food scraps are doing good and not just being added to landfill. Happy food saving!

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