Enjoy food – don’t waste it!
Taste of Monaghan Festival have teamed up with Monaghan County Council’s Environment Section and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Stop Food waste Programme www.stopfoodwaste.ie at this year’s festival. As proud sponsor of the Cookery Demonstration Area the three organisations are keen to make people aware of the financial and environmental cost of food waste.
Food waste is something that we all generate; it’s just the way it goes. Some gets fed to the dog, some we manage to reuse at home, but the majority goes into the bin. Remember, regardless of what happens to it, it still cost you money. It is estimated that ¼ of the food we buy gets thrown out, costing Irish households anywhere between €500 and €1,000 a year. Imagine you went shopping and bought 4 bags of groceries and as you were loading up the car someone came and stole one of the bags – you’d be livid! Yet this is what we do to ourselves. How? We simply all prepare too much, buy too much and don’t use it on time.
So how do you stop food waste and save money?
The first thing to do is to be aware of how much you are throwing out, and what you are throwing out. So, for a couple of weeks try the following:
- Keep all your food waste in a separate sealed container – you’ll be surprised by how much you actually throw out on a weekly basis.
- Watch what you are throwing out, you may see some things that are always being thrown out e.g. bread, yogurts, salad.
- If you can, keep a note of how much you throw out and what you throw out regularly
- Don’t forget the sink – a lot of milk and dairy products get thrown down the sink and while you don’t need to keep these separate, don’t forget to include them on your list
Doing this simple exercise often helps people reduce their food waste because usually this waste is out of sight and out of mind once it is binned. It is hard not to be shocked when you see all your food waste in one place and it can be a great motivator.
Another trick is to become a “savvy shopper”. These 10 tips from stopfoodwaste.ie are really helpful.
- Don’t go shopping when you are hungry – you’ll buy more than you need!
- If you are shopping for the week try and plan your meals ahead.
- Check your fridge, freezer and cupboards before you go shopping and plan meals around what you find.
- Then make a shopping list … and try to stick to it!
- Beware of special deals – these are great for toilet rolls and shampoo but bad for fruit, veg and salads (anything that is best eaten fresh). These are the things we buy because of a “good deal” but often do not get eaten.
- Try and buy loose fruit and veg, you get what you need and can cut down on packaging waste in your bin as well.
- Check use-by dates to avoid buying food that might get thrown out if not eaten immediately.
- Poke around at the back of shelves – you’ll often find ‘use-by dates’ that are further away.
- Shop for what you actually eat, not for what you want/wish you would eat (e.g. “I am going to be really healthy this week and eat lots of yogurts!”) and then not eat them!
- If it’s an option for you, try shopping online for the basics. You get what you want and save money by not being tempted to buy more on visual impulse.
Thank you both – your invaluable assistance is much appreciated!