Food wastage is a modern problem that has grown steadily over the last few decades as we come to view food as an abundant and ultimately disposable commodity. There are many reasons why food wastage is so high, especially in the western world, and understanding some of these reasons can help you cut your own wastage and weekly shopping costs.
One of the causes, although by no means the main cause, is our propensity to buy larger quantities of food than we actually need. This causes food to go off before it has been used and it ends up in the trash can. By being careful about the amount of food we buy and using our home freezers to good effect, you can significantly reduce the amount of food waste your household produces. For example, supermarkets always have special offers to 'buy one get one free' or some similar bulk-buying deal.
Such offers are widely regarded as wasteful as they tend to encourage over-buying and the resulting increased waste. If you're choosy about which of these offers you go for, you can freeze some of the produce as soon as you get home to make it last longer. Combined with a little mealtime planning, you can get much more benefit from the offer and you won't feel you're wasting the food or even using it at the wrong time just because you don't like the idea of throwing it out.
Leftovers are also a source of significant food waste in most homes. Cooked foods don't generally keep for long in a refrigerator, but by storing them properly in a freezer immediately and marking the bags or tubs with dates, you increase the length of time the food can be kept. Soups, stews, bread and some soft fruits for example, are particularly suited to this kind of storage. Once you've established your freezer as a vital part of your food storage regime, you can go ahead and intentionally cook extra portions to allow them to be frozen for use later, rather than having accidental over-production and a full bin.
You must however, remember to take your frozen food into consideration when planning meals and grocery shopping or you won't get the full benefit of the saving and your freezer will just end up full of food that's been there too long and needs to go into the bin. Make sure you use the meals in time, according to the storage guidelines and timescales allowed by your freezer.
Do you want to live a greener life? Do you find it hard to live a greener life and keep your household costs under control? Then get some great tips on how to save money and live a greener life at the same time.
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