According to WRAP research, 7.1 million tonnes of food is wasted by households in a year in the UK alone. Of the 7.1 million tonnes of food that end up in trash cans, nearly 70% of the food is edible. Not just food wastes, but packaging wastes is another major massive problem today. The amount of food packaging that ends up in landfills in the UK has increased by 446,000 tonnes since 2013 – that is a 15% increase.
Today's consumers are indeed environmentally conscious compared to previous generations. But, most people stop with just segregating household trash, hoping that the waste they have generated will mysteriously disappear.
What if we all could focus on generating less waste? Won't it be a huge blessing for our planet? Here, in this post, we share with you simple but efficient tips to cut down on your household food and packaging wastes.
1: Watch What you Shop
We have been conditioned to think that foods that come bundled in rolls of cling wrap or packed tightly in Styrofoam are the freshest. But, that isn't the truth – foods are packaged heavily to increase their shelf life.
Make sure to review all food items that you pick from a supermarket shelf. See if it uses minimal packaging or has gone overboard with the packaging.
Today, several eco-friendly food packaging suppliers in the UK are using an alternative, decomposable packaging material like areca, bagasse, etc. Opt for plastic-free packaging wherever you can. Look for items packaged in reusable or decomposable materials like glass and paper.
When it comes to meat, purchase it from a butcher or the deli section of a supermarket instead of choosing pre-packaged cuts. We all know that fresh fruits and veggies contain the maximum nutritional values. Instead of tinned or preserved, go for fresh vegetables and fruits.
2: Watch Where you Shop
One of the easiest ways to cut down packaging wastes is by shopping wholesale. Buying in bulk bigger packages helps to cut down on the wastes generated. If you're worried that foods purchased in bulk will spoil quickly, make sure to remove the items from their original packaging as soon as you get home. Store it in air-tight steel or glass containers or freeze it to keep it fresh for long.
Today, there are plenty of food suppliers in London who deliver fruits, veggies, and other groceries in wholesale, right at your doorstep. Make use of these services to cut down the volumes of packaging wastes generated at your home.
3: Watch your Cooking and Eating Habits
Do you eat yogurt every day in plastic cups with tiny disposable plastic spoons? Purchase yogurt in bigger containers and take small batches to your office daily in reusable containers. Love cheese? Opt for a bigger wheel of cheese than individually packaged thin slices.
As British, you are bound to have at least a few cuppas of tea every day. Instead of individual tea bags, purchase loose tea leaves. Yes, it may take a few extra minutes, but you get the deep contentment that you're doing your bit for Mother Earth. Plus, a tea bag can never match the fragrance and aroma of freshly brewed tea.
Not a tea lover? Then get beverages like Sunpride orange juice that is available in paper cartons instead of fizzy drinks that come in plastic bottles.
4: While in the Kitchen
Use washable cloths for wiping the kitchen counter instead of paper napkins. Try to cook from scratch instead of reaching for packaged, ready-to-eat meals. Pack prepared food in reusable containers instead of using cling wraps or aluminium foil. Invest in a decent lunch box for each member of the household. While baking or serving food, use reusable containers instead of disposable ones.
5: While on the Move
Get a travel coffee mug to avoid using Styrofoam cups. Similarly, get a reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle that you can refill on the go. Carry a set of silverware in your bag so that you can avoid using the plastic disposable ones while eating out.
And, the most important of all, always carry a reusable shopping bag. Keep one in the car, one in your desk at the office and one in your handbag. You never know when the urge to go food shopping will strike. Having a shopping bag helps you say no to the disposable plastic bags offered at supermarkets and groceries.
Start Small & Keep on Adding Momentum
Packaged foods have become an integral part of our modern living. Eliminating them from our home and diets is not always possible. What you can do is take simple conscious steps at a time. Just like all things in life, balance is key.
Make use of the tips listed here, and try to reduce wastes wherever you can. Remember that small drops make an ocean, and small, consistent steps by all will lead us to a better, cleaner and happier future.