Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Landfills don't need calories

Talking of food waste - here's a bit of info to get us thinking.... "As its coming up to Christmas we could all do with a bit more spare cash in our wallet, right? Well did you know that the average UK family throws out approximately £550 worth of food each year! Shocking, isn't it? But it's true and most of that is simply because we buy too much or cook too much and then never get round to eating it. And of course when you've got a busy lifestyle with kids this problem is just magnified. Some kids can be fussy eaters too - we've all spend hours slaving over a hot stove only to see the little ones leave half the food uneaten on their plate. Well one way to help avoid this is getting your children more involved in meal planning and preparing dinner. This can be fun and may help them to appreciate the value of food and waste less. Simply by planning out your meals for the week ahead in a diary, you can reduce waste because you can plan out a shopping list, so that you only buy what you really need. Some ways of reducing food waste are really as simple as just storing food in a different place. Two-thirds of UK households are letting fruit go to waste, simply by keeping it out in a fruit bowl whereas fruit like apples will last up to 14 days longer if kept in the fridge. Another top tip is to make the most of your freezer. Try freezing any leftovers in individual portions and then you have a perfect lunch to take to work in the week. But make sure you wrap food properly before freezing to keep it at its best. Use freezer bags or plastic containers and minimize the air around the food helps avoid ‘freezer burn’. And it's not just all about money - by saving food waste we can all tread more lightly on the planet. Producing, distributing, storing and cooking food uses energy, fuel and water. All these activities result in greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. Think of a pack of cheese for example. The resources that go into raising the cows, processing the milk, transporting the cheese, refrigeration, the fuel we use to drive to the shop to buy it - all this to put it in the bin at the end of the week. It's insane but it's happening all over the country right now - in fact in the UK we throw away the equivalent of more than three million slices of cheese every single day! In Shropshire around 20% of all household waste is food waste - so that means we're producing about 30,000 tonnes of the stuff every year. Of course now some of this will be composted or feed to pets and the like but even if it doesn’t all end up in landfill its far better to avoid this waste in the first place. Being frugal with your food is helping to ensure our environment is protected for the future generations." For more handy hints and tips and a delicious selection of family friendly recipes visit Regards, James Thompson, Waste Prevention Officer Waste Management Shropshire Council

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