UK Proves Food Waste Can Be Curbed

In 2007, the United Kingdom launched a campaign and program designed to reduce food waste called Love Food, Hate Waste and WRAP. They studied the reasons that residents were wasting food and identified specific tools to help them reduce their waste.

Five years later, the UK released their first study aimed to see if people wasted less food -and the data is impressive.

Overall, they reduced food waste by 19% per household. Residents who used the tools in earnest were averaging a 43% reduction in food waste.

Closer to home, the West Coast Environmental Protection Agency has created tools to help residents reduce food waste through the Food Too Good to Waste program. Many local jurisdictions are utilizing these tools including Seattle and Gresham. And you won’t believe how easy the steps to save food are.

Five things to do to make your food go further:

  1. Ask the question: is this food really bad?. Perfectly good food is thrown away because it is perceived to passed the food date. Here in the US, Dana Gunders through the Natural Resources Defense Council is working to clarify the meaning of dates on food and identify ways to improve the reputation of what she calls “cosmetically challenged” food.

  2. Plan your meals. Check your cupboards, write a list, take it to the shops and stick to it. Use the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Shopping list to make the most of your food.

  3. Store your food correctly to keep it fresh for longer. Apples go in the fridge, potatoes in a cool dark place, and store bread in the cupboard or freezer. Here are some surprisingly freezable foods.
  4. Do you make too much food? Get your portions just right using a portion tool.
  5. Last night’s leftovers could be today’s feast. Check out Love Food Hate Waste’s recipes for great ideas to use up any extra food.

As a Master Recycler you can bring these results home to our region. Find more resources and take the EPA’s Food Waste Challenge. Take these steps to reduce food waste and help our neighbors, friends and families find these tools, as well.