7 Top Tips How to Reduce Food Waste

7 Top Tips How to Reduce Food Waste at Home

Apparently an average European citizen wastes 179kg of food a year. We throw out almost 20% of the food we buy. This is a horrendous waste!

The food waste is not only limited to our households. Supermarkets and restaurants waste an even higher percentage of food, but there isn’t a lot we can do about it… We can however take a look at our “wasting” routine and try to do something about it.

We are not the most innocent family when it comes to reducing food waste, this is why I did some thinking and put a plan in place to help us reduce our food waste.

Know what you already have

This might sounds funny but do you really know what you have in your cupboards? I thought I did but I was wrong. I tend to “stock up” on things when they are on a special offer and at times I simply forget about them later on. Like the time I bought four large jars of mayonnaise despite still having two in my pantry (luckily they were still in date so nothing was wasted, we just had a lot of salads that month).
Anyway knowing what you already have in the cupboard is the key to success. It will allow you to avoid double buying but also it will help you to plan meals ahead.

Buy local, buy smart

Large superstore are designed to make us spend more; make us buy stuff we don’t really need; make us buy too much. Buying local will help us to buy only what we need and when we need it.
Going shopping with a shopping list is a great way of sticking to what we need to buy, if we can stick to our pre-written shopping list of course.

Learn to read labels

Not all food that has passed its “label date” is actually out of date. A lot of foods have labels which are actually design as recommendations for the store selling them.
Sell-by date – a date printed on the packaging of perishable goods, indicating the date after which the goods should not be offered for sale. This doesn’t mean they can’t be eaten. Sell-by date can be found for example on fresh cakes or pastries. Store can’t sell them past the date but we can still enjoy them 🙂
Best before – the length of time a packaged food will last without deteriorating. Food eaten after “best before” date is perfectly safe to eat, it might just not be “perfectly perfect”; its taste, texture, aroma or appearance might start to change slightly.
Use-by date – refers to safety and are the required form of date mark for foods considered to be highly perishable from a microbiological point of view. This is the only label we should be really concern about and should try to avoid products which have passed their use-by date.

Learn how to store food properly

A lot of food goes to waste due to poor storage. Investing in a good, clever storage solution will help us save money (and a lot of food) in the long run. A nice set of plastic air-tight containers (like the ones I reviewed for you in the past from Addis) or simple Fresha bags, which are design to keep your food fresh for up to 25% longer are perfect food storage solutions. They will help your food stay fresh for longer, giving you more time to enjoy it.
Storage containers are just one side to the proper storage solution… the other is correct fridge placement. When unpacking new grocery shopping, move your “old” food to the front of the fridge. This way you will not forget about that pack of half eaten butter or an already opened bottle of milk.

Learn to experiment in the kitchen

I must agree that recipes are made to be followed but I am also a believer in variety and freedom. Product substitution might not be ideal every time but you never know what your new “upgraded” dish will taste like until you try it. Experimenting in the kitchen is a great way of “using” all the odd things we have left. Challenge yourself and cook once a week a “what’s left in my fridge” dinner. You might be surprised with the results. To give you an idea on what sort of thing we create, check my “Something from Nothing Dinner” post.

Learn to use leftovers

Big portion of the food ending up in the bin come from leftovers… Depending on the type of leftovers, they can be eaten the next day, turned into a new meal or frozen, to be consumed at a later date. Very often you can find the dish gets better with time, so don’t be scared of a “leftovers” dinner.
Freezing it on the day is a great way of avoiding binning it a few days later. Just remember to clearly label your meals, so you know exactly what’s inside and what date you put it there.

Donate it, jar it or compost it

No matter how careful we will be, there will always be a time when we have too much food on our hands. Depending on the type of food we can donate it to a local food bank or try your hand at a new skill and re-make it for future use in the months to come, for example turning fruit and veggies into pickles and chutneys.
Last summer when we went to Poland we drove back to the UK with three cases of fresh apples. We knew that we will not be able to eat them all, so I turned some into jars of grated apples, ready to become a filling in my Apple Pie.
And when we have food which still needs to go to the bin, compost it. Instead of putting it to the bin, give it a second life and turn it into a useful resource… your garden will be truly thankful for it 😉

Anything you would add into my list?

*Picture source

#Pledge4Plastics – Every Single Bottle Counts!

Did you know that over 316,000 tonnes of plastic bottles were collected for recycling from UK households in 2012? That’s a recycling rate of 58% and means that:

  • An estimated 7 billion plastic bottles were collected for recycling – that’s 19 million bottles every day.
  • Nearly 5 billion plastic bottles were sent to landfill in 2012 – that’s nearly 14 million plastic bottles every day.
  • Overall this means the average UK household uses over 440 plastic bottles per year, but only recycles just over 250 of them!

That’s just over a half. So what is happening to the rest of these bottles?

If you aren’t sure what and how to recycle you just need to follow this simple guidance:

#Pledge4Plastics  – Every Single Bottle Counts! How to recycle.

And if you aren’t sure where can you recycle, please just follow this link and enter your post code. As a result you will see your local map with your all nearest recycling banks including textile, glass, batteries and of course plastic. But remember you can recycle most plastics in your recycling bin at home, so there is no need for any travels 🙂

Recycling just one more bottle a day will make a real difference.

These bottles really go to a good use.

I came across Best Recycled Plastic Products Awards. Do you know what products won in 2013?

Surprisingly the first place was awarded to uBin which is dedicated to encourage responsible recycling in offices, schools, hospitals and other typical working environments.

Second prize was awarded to the vinyPlus façade panels, made from 100% recycled PVC and coated with a weather-proof top layer.

The eco-core staple fibres made from recycled PET bottles won the third prize. I had no idea that you can even get a duvet made from plastic.

#Pledge4Plastics  Phone Case

To highlight the many ways plastic can be given a new life if recycled, internationally renowned designer and stylist, Abigail Ahern, has channelled her uniquely quirky and recognisable style into designing her first ever bespoke phone cover, which is made from 80 percent recycled plastic bottles.

One thousand limited edition phone covers, available for iPhone 5C/S and Samsung S5, have been designed exclusively for #Pledge4Plastics, to reward those who register their support online, tweet @pledge4plastics or like the official Pledge 4 Plastics Facebook page.

Why not make your Pledge 4 Plastics at http://www.pledge4plastics.co.uk/pledge for your chance to win and join the plastics recycling revolution?

Review – Zogoflex Zisc from West Paws Design – The Perfect Dog Toy

Zogoflex Zisc from West Paws Design
Zogoflex Zisc from West Paws Design

Having big dogs, which like to play rough together, it is not so easy to find a perfect toy for them. Most of them do not make it through the first week and then off we go again to the market/shop/pet store for something new. It bothers me that the quality of most dogs’ toys is so poor. I don’t think that Bunk and Lilly are especially rough whilst playing. It’s not that they chew them, the traditional death of a dog toy, as they are play toys for the walk time they are normally left in the boot of the car, but all too soon the toys just fall apart on us.

Collarways were very kind and they sent us a selection of dog toys for testing. Collarways are wholesalers of high quality products for cats and dogs. They focus on well designed, well made and functional pet products which are safe to use for both owners and animals. Most of their suppliers are small US companies but they also feature some products developed in the UK. Currently they are the exclusive importers of Lupine®, Tuffy’s®, Wacky Walk’r, Katie’s Bumpers, Advanced Cetyl M®, Happytails Canine Spa, My Good Dog, West Paw Design® and Wetnoz®.

I asked the lovely Gabriela from Collarways for something that will be “indestructible” knowing that toys like this don’t really exist, but I just wanted to make sure that whatever we get will survive at least a few play sessions. One of the toys received was a Zogoflex Zisc from West Paws Design, which we have been using for the last 2 months and it is still in one piece.

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So let’s have a closer look at it.

06Below are statements from Zogoflex Zisc packaging. Let’s see how they stuck up to real dog testing and if they are true:

100% recyclable – this I cannot confirm but there is no reason why we shouldn’t believe it or why this isn’t true. I like the fact that West Paws Design recycles; even their packaging is printed on 100% recycled paper with soy based inks… so big plus for looking after the environment.

Buoyant – yes, it does float! This is another huge plus for us as both Bunk and Lilly love the water and we let them go swimming as often as we can. Having a toy which can be used both in the water and on normal everyday dry land play time is a great idea and a money saver.

Here you go... waiting... throw it already
Here you go…                                        waiting…                                       throw it already

Gentle for your dogs’ mouth – Lilly is not a young dog. She loves sticks, balls and anything she can find, stick into her mouth and carry back to us… but she also gets bleeding gums from time to time. We need to buy toys which will not hurt her. Zogoflex Zisc is light, it is much lighter toy then other of this size on the market. I am very happy about it because it gives me confidence that Lilly can play with it safely and she will not suffer later from a sore mouth as a result of it.

Easy for dogs to pick up – due to the material it is made from (FDA compliant and safe for dogs, non-toxic, BPA and latex free) it bends a lot so it doesn’t really matter which way up or down it will land, dogs can still pick it up without any external help.

Pliable – roll it up and go anywhere – again this is due to the material the zisc is made of. It bends, it rolls but it doesn’t split, so yes, you can fold it in half or even into 4 making a small parcel which will fit into your pocket. Though it’s natural elasticity will make it want to spring open again so your pocket may well end up looking an odd shape.

Yes, the tree is nervous...
Yes, the tree is nervous…

Designed to fly with ease – it flies a fair distance; best throw to date would be about 50 meters. We have played with discs which were going much further but they were often much heavier, which wasn’t so good for Lilly. She prefers the lighter toy, though this does mean that we have to throw it twice as much.

Zogoflex Zisc comes with a guarantee to last. If the toy becomes damaged they will send you a one-time replacement (just keep your till receipt… just in case)

To sum it up, the dogs totally love it.

Bunk starts to think about going pro
Bunk starts to think about going pro

Zogoflex Zisc is approaching the perfect dog toy.

It is perfect for a simple throwing and running after routine – but with a twist as it does not always fly where you want it to fly, so the dogs get a bit confused at times, which is brilliant. With other toys Lilly will sometimes run ahead anticipating the landing spot even before we have thrown it, with Zogoflex Zisc she doesn’t as often as she now knows that it might just as easily go in the opposite direction. It is also great for team play. We do not really allow Bunk and Lilly to play tug of war with it, but sometimes they do… especially when they both try to pick it up at the same time and both want to carry it back… then they will have a fight over it… pull it apart until one of them gives up… Zogoflex Zisc has survived quite a few rounds like this.

I… we would highly recommend it to any dog owner out there. It is strong and durable but gentle for the dog itself. If I had to give it a score the Zogoflex Zisc would receive a definite 10/10 and big thumbs up.

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We have 2 other toys from Collarways which I would love to share my thoughts with you, so more dog toy reviews coming up in the near future… watch this space…

What’s your dog favourite toy?

Did you ever hear about the Zogoflex Zisc?

Do you think your four legged friend would like it?

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I received a selection of three dog toys from Collarways for review purposes. All opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own.