Find out how I’ve been getting on with the #FoodSavvy challenge to cut down on food waste in February. I’m sharing my experience so far and the things I’ve been doing to minimise waste this week – maybe you’d like to join me??
Did you spot my blog post at the start of the month about taking on the #FoodSavvy Challenge? I wanted to share my reasons for taking on the challenge (and the environmental research behind it) so if you haven’t already had a read of that blog post – here’s the link: Take on the #FoodSavvy Challenge.
I’ve already completed two weeks of the challenge and I’d like to let you know how things have gone so far. The first week was just a ‘normal week’. I didn’t need to make any changes to my usual routine or try to cut down on my food waste. The idea to was to get a baseline measurement of how much food our household wastes over the course of a week.
This measurement then gives me a benchmark to try to minimise by the end of the #FoodSavvy challenge month. So I set up my scales on the kitchen worktop, I printed out the food waste tracking sheet and I carefully measured all the food waste that went into the bin. Inedible waste like peelings and teabags weren’t included – it was only the things that we could have eaten but that went to waste.
I thought it would just be leftovers that went to waste – the odd spoonful of baked beans here and the occasional takeaway portion there – but no. I discovered that it wasn’t just leftovers that I had a problem with, it was also just food going off before we’d had the chance to eat it. Looking back over the tracking sheet I can see that a lot of avocados, banana, lemons, veg and bread went into the bin.
This made me feel sad (and guilty) because I make such an effort to buy fresh produce and be healthy, only to discover that much of the good stuff I’m buying is going in the bin before it gets used. But the good news is that I’ve managed to pinpoint WHY this happens so often. Here’s what I think the problems are…
- Eating out. Our daily schedules often change and we sometimes have to eat on-the-go. So even though I’ve done a full food shop for the week, it’s likely that we’ll end up being out of the house for a few of those meals. That’s when my lovely veg goes off in the fridge.
- Good intentions. I always think that I’m going to have fruit every day so I stock up at the start of the week, but I forget that they’re in the fruit bowl and just have my usual meals. Then, when I remember to grab a banana, it’s inevitably already gone off.
- Use-by dates. I’m very careful to stick to use-by and best-before dates and although I use common sense, there are certain things that I won’t eat if the packaging tells me not to – so these go in the bin.
During the second week, I’ve started to make some changes to the way that we buy, use and store food in an effort to cut down on the total amount of waste. Here’s what I’ve been doing:
You probably have the same struggle with bananas that I do, right? They go off SO quickly in the fruit bowl. I always think I’ll use up the mushy ones by baking a banana loaf but by the time I get round to it, they’re just too disgusting! So I’m trying out this banana bag from Lakeland. The bag goes in the bottom of the fridge and although the skins of the bananas discolour, the banana inside is still fresh. Apparently you can store bananas for two weeks in this way, but I haven’t yet used it for that long, so I’ll let you know how I get on!
I like to have avocado most days for my lunch, but I only ever eat half at a time. So there’s always another half of the avocado going off in the fridge overnight. Sometimes it’s too brown and icky to eat the next day so I needed to do something about this. Lakeland sent some Food Huggers for vegetables and – excitingly – a set of avocado-shaped huggers. I’ve been using them on my avocado halves every day. Sure, the surface of the avocado still goes a little brown, but the rest of it is good to eat the next day, phew!
I think it’s made a big different just having a selection of food containers with lids so that I can store leftovers easily. I was sent a multi-pack of food storage boxes from Ikea and found myself using them almost immediately. Not only does my fridge look loads more organised now, the food isn’t going off so quickly and I’m able to use the tubs to reheat leftovers in the microwave too.
This is an interesting one. I got some great freezer bags in two different sizes from Ikea, which I’ve used to store leftover bread, buns, crumpets and veg in the freezer – a great start. I’ve also discovered a different kind of food bag too – these green ones from Lakeland. The Stayfresh longer bags help to preserve fruit and veg in the fridge so that they don’t go off as quickly. I’ve filled up my salad drawer with broccoli, spring onions, tomatoes, sweetcorn and carrots, all stored inside these bags. I’ve been using the veg ‘as usual’ this week and all seems good so far, and I’ll keep an eye on just how long the veg stays good for in these storage bags!
One final product I’ve been trying out is the potato storage bag, also from Lakeland. The sack is dark inside and keeps air circulating around the potatoes – or the onions, parsnips, carrots or sweet potatoes – whatever you put in there. The idea is that the veg shouldn’t be able to turn green or begin sprouting inside the sack. I’m excited to be trying this out as I’m ALWAYS throwing away green potatoes with shoots. In fact, 800g went in the bin during the first week of the challenge – what a waste. I’ll also let you know how well this one works at the end of the month.
So, that’s how the #FoodSavvy challenge has been going so far for me and I’ll be sure to give you an update at the end of the month. Let’s hope I’ve managed to reduce the amount of food waste by then! Do check back at the end of February to see how I get on, and perhaps you’d like to join in with the #FoodSavvy challenge too? Find out more about the campaign on the Hubbub blog. Go for it!
Some items in this blog post have been gifted to me and the pink links indicate a gifted product or affiliate link. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience 🙂