Mid West Carbon Zero’s tips to reduce food waste and lower your carbon footprint

Vivienne LoboMidwest Times
What $20 billion of food waste would look like piled up in Sydney Harbour.
Camera IconWhat $20 billion of food waste would look like piled up in Sydney Harbour. Credit: Christian Debney

Who remembers scraping the mould off old bread or being made to use a teabag twice?

For many, it’s just a memory of when times were tough financially.

But reducing food waste is making a comeback for a different reason.

In Australia, we throw out one in five bags of food.

Food waste and loss cause 10 per cent of the carbon dioxide emissions that are causing the climate emergency.

Here are our top tips to reduce food waste, saving money and the planet:

- Make a list, and plan meals. Plan what you need for your meal and check the fridge before you go to the shops. Just the thought of meal planning used to bring out the rebel in me, but now I don't run around in a mad dash at 5 o'clock.

- Store food properly. Check out frugalandthriving.com.au/printable-fruit-vegetable-and-herb-storage-guide/ Glass containers are great for keeping most of our vegies fresh. And did you know ginger keeps perfectly in the freezer?

- Put food that needs to be used at the front of the fridge. This works unless you have switched-on kids who hate the squishy fruit and boycott the system.

- Check the fridge daily and freeze or eat what is not going to last. This is my end-of- day routine and even I am surprised what I find sometimes.

- Have a Soup Friday. At least once a week plan a leftover meal, where you use up all those old vegies. For us it’s vegie “sausage rolls”, which are pretty adaptable to almost all limp vegies.

- Let people serve themselves, especially if you have guests over. A no-brainer, but who still has a partner who serves them enough to feed a small elephant?

- Take a doggy bag, and BYO your own container while you’re at it. No longer does it look like you’re a cheapskate for asking to take your leftovers home.

- Use the whole thing. My other half is fairly sick of me telling him off for throwing out the spinach stalks, but they are great blended up in gozleme or savoury muffins. For a good read, check out Use it All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards.

- And if all else fails, and your food does go to waste, compost it or put it in a worm farm. That’s way better than the methane it will give off if sent to land-fill.

Vivienne Lobo is a member of Midwest Carbon Zero

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