10 Tips and Tricks to Reduce Food Waste

Kiwi households discard of nearly 160,000 tonnes of food each year, a massive amount of waste, which could feed around 400,000 people in that same period of time. If we all do our part, we can fill stomachs with food instead of dumps.

Here are 10 tips and tricks that can help reduce food waste in your home and save you money.

1: Plan your week

Whether it’s work, family or recreation, it pays to plan your week in advance — especially your meals. By having a meal plan, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress, time and money. So, start planning your meals for the week.

2: Left over, not left out

Even with the best of planning, things can change, and you might end up cooking too much. That’s OK, it happens. Just make sure that these leftovers are not left out overnight, which will see another meal spoil and go to waste (and the landfill). If you’ve cooked too much, just let it cool, before putting it in the fridge.

3: Find cover

Putting a plate of leftover food in the fridge is always a better option than leaving it out overnight. But food that’s refrigerated on a plate in a fridge can still go to waste if it’s not covered. That goes for leftover meals, or unused ingredients, which should be stored the right way. It pays to cover, wrap or put everything away properly.

4. Check your cupboards

Do you have your shopping list for the week? Before you head to the supermarket, or put in your online order, check your cupboards and fridge. You might find that you already have enough of certain things that you don’t need to buy that week, or have something else, which can be a substitute for another ingredient you have on the list.   

5. Organise your fridge

First in, first out — a simple rule that all homes should use! It’s simple. Just use that older yoghurt before opening the fresher tub. This will help to cut down on waste. It will also stop you overcrowding your fridge, which stops produce being damaged, which leads to grim odours and discoveries. A crisper drawer is all called that for a reason; so, don’t over pack the crisper, and you’ll keep your produce fresher for longer.

6. Keeping your cool

A fridge keeps foods cool, but it shouldn’t keep foods too cool — you have a freezer for keeping things frozen. Again, keep any produce in the crisper, so it doesn’t get damaged when touching the sides and back of a really cold fridge.

7: Save bread by eating all the bread

Is your bread stale? Blitz it for breadcrumbs. Use it to make croutons. Even dip it in egg for some French toast. Or stack it with leftovers, or your favourite fillings, to make a delicious toastie. Just remember that stale is still fine, but mouldy is not.

8. Wrap it up

Don’t feel like the same meal the next day? No problem! Grab that leftover roast meat and slap some bread around it. You can also wrap leftovers in flat bread to make a tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack — and toasting a sandwich or wrap makes it even tastier.

9. The gift of giving

Giving feels good, and it also gives you something else — peace of mind that no food is going to waste. Plus, you’ll have more room in the fridge, which means you can make sure that no food is lost inside and lost to time. So, if you’ve cooked too much, why not pop next door and offer it to your neighbour?

10. Bin it

No, not the normal bin — the compost bin! If there are any casualties in the war on food waste, make sure it ends up in the compost bin or worm farm. That way the food is giving back to the planet, instead of just giving off funky smells and methane at the landfill.