Did you know that Australian’s throw out around $8 billion worth of edible food every year? Over a third of the average household bin is food waste; imagine bringing your food shopping home and putting a third of it straight into the bin.
Everyone in your household has a role to play in reducing their contribution to food waste. Most schools are implementing sustainability into the classroom so you may be surprised at what your kids already know about food waste. Sit the family down and set some goals together, they may have some great ideas already.
Here’s my top tips to get you started.
- Weekly bin challenge. Have everyone monitor what goes into your bins for a week and notice how full your kerbside bin is on bin day. Then, challenge your family to reduce it. Auditing your recycling plays a huge part in reducing food waste.
- Make fruit and veg last. Shopping for food the family will like, in quantities that will last the week isn’t easy. It’s no wonder that households with kids waste the most food. Wash fruit and veg before putting them in the fridge. Store fruit and veg in produce bags or containers specifically developed to make them last longer. Pack lunch boxes with enough ice bricks to keep food cold all day. Uneaten fruit and veggies can be used again for dinner or afternoon tea. Make it the norm to start a meal or snack with a small portion each, and then get more if needed.
- Not all scraps are waste. Herbs like parsley, coriander and dill have a lot of flavour in the stems which are perfectly edible. Broccoli and Cauliflower stems are just as nice (and nutritious) as the florets and can be grated raw or chopped and steamed to eat. Onion ends, carrot and celery tops and vegetable peels can be kept in a container in the freezer and slowly added to. Once you have a decent amount; boil them in water with seasoning to make home-made stock. You can also add saved meat bones for added flavour and nutrients.
- Start composting. Compost bins turn food scraps into soil improver for veggie gardens. There are plenty of online guides to get you started, it’s not as hard as you think!
More awareness and some small changes to how we manage our waste can have a big impact. It’s never too late to make some changes in your household, set some goals and get everyone involved.
Stay tuned for all things food and wellness.
Sarah Moore (RNutr, MPH)