Welcome to Money Tips Daily this is Money Kelly bringing you money tips to help you save and make more money!
When the snow started falling in the UK this week, people I know started panic buying food and supplies in case the shops ran out or they became stranded in their homes. I’m not talking about people living in remote areas. These are people who live in London!
It made me think about the amount of food we buy and how much gets wasted.
Stop wasting food!
On average, people in the west throw away around a third of the food they buy. Considering that food is one of our major areas of expenditure, apart from anything else, that’s a lot of money we are throwing away.
Let’s say a family spends £100 per week on food and throws away a third of it. Over a year, that’s £1,716 going straight into the dustbin.
There is also a moral aspect to this. We all know that there are millions of people who go hungry every day, even on our own doorstep, while many of us overindulge and then throw millions of tons of food in the bin – much of which ends up in landfill, which is unsustainable and bad for the planet.
The government is even trying to change food labelling, which accounts for a huge amount of edible food being tossed into dumpster bins by supermarkets unable to legally sell it.
We have the modern phenomenon of “dumpster divers”, raiding bins for food which would otherwise go to waste, and evening shoppers crowding around a trolley waiting for the supermarket to reduce prices on food which will be out of date by the end of the day.
So how can we reduce our waste?
Here are my 5 C’s to Stop Food Waste:
- Cook it – cooked food will last longer and will not go off so quickly. You can store or freeze cooked dishes it to last even longer.
- Chill or refrigerate most food and fruit to avoid going bad in a hot kitchen. In the days before fridges were common, kitchens had larders which faced an outside wall and stayed cool. Houses were also much cooler before central heating.
- Consume or eat it! This is the most obvious method of avoiding waste and you can’t do this if you buy 12 muffins in Costco or constantly go for ‘3 for 1’ offers (which are nearly always approaching their sell by date!
- Check it for signs of mould, decay or deterioration using your eyes and nose. Don’t just follow the date on the packaging. I’ve thrown away milk before it reached the sell by date and used milk a week after it. Labels can be wrong, as we don’t know how a consignment may have been handles or stored, so use your common sense. I’m not advising you to eat “out of date” food, however, I ate a pack of Asian style vegetables yesterday on which the best before date was 3 days ago. I’m still here to tell the tale.
- Cold store or freeze food if you cannot consume it within a day or so. Freeze on the day of purchase and always read the label and follow safe guidance.
Bonus Tip: Try living on whatever food is stored in your cupboard and freezer for a few days without shopping until you have used it all up. Pull out those cans of beans and soup from the back of your cupboards.
Oh, and by the way, the supermarkets did not run out of food and the snow only lasted a few chaotic days before life went back to normal.
Check out my podcast version: "The 5 C’s to Avoid Wasting Food and Money" on Anchor! https://anchor.fm/charles-kelly/episodes/The-5-Cs-to-Avoid-Wasting-Food-and-Money-e151br
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