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Simple Ways to Reduce Food Waste at Home

April 17, 2024 Honest to Goodness

Food waste is a critical global issue affecting climate change, resource allocation, and economic prosperity. In Australia alone, food waste costs the economy more than $36 billion annually, with households discarding 3.1 million tonnes of food. However, there is hope: we can significantly mitigate this problem by adopting simple, sustainable practices in our daily lives. It's time to embrace more eco-friendly habits, and collectively reduce food waste for a greener future. 

To help you combat food waste effectively, we've compiled a practical list of tips to help slash your food waste.

Become a Food Waste Detective

Before you jump headfirst into reducing waste, channel your inner detective and track what you throw away for a week. This will give you the lowdown on which items you are wasting and how much you waste. If you find yourself constantly pouring out old milk, grab a smaller carton next time. And if you're always saying bye-bye to limp carrots and sad spinach leaves, buy less next time or consider other ways to use them up.

Plan Your Meals Like a Pro

Each week, put together a meal plan and jot down all the ingredients you need from the store. And don't forget to take that list with you to keep distractions and impulse buys at bay!

Buy What You Need, Not What You Want

When a recipe calls for two carrots, resist the urge to buy a whole bag. Go for loose produce, so you only purchase what you'll actually use. The same goes for baking ingredients, nuts, seeds, and spices. Buy them from bulk bins to measure out the exact amounts you need. 

Did you know that by visiting our  Alexandria store, you can take advantage of our bulk food dispensers to purchase precisely the amount you need for your recipes? At Honest to Goodness, we offer a fantastic selection of loose goods, including baking ingredientsnuts, seedsdried fruits, and cleaning products all available in our bulk bins. So, next time you're in the area, be sure to stop by and make use of our bulk food dispensers to reduce food waste and save money.

'Best Before' Dates: Your New BFF

'Use By' and 'Best Before' dates are like apples and oranges – totally different! A 'Use By' date tells you when food must be eaten for health and safety reasons, while a 'Best Before' date is all about peak quality, not safety. If a food item is past its 'Best Before' date, it might lose some quality, but it's still safe to eat. So, if it looks, smells, and tastes fine, dig in! If something seems off, though, it's time to let it go.

Canning & Fermenting: Your Food's New BFFs

Canning and fermenting are awesome ways to keep your food fresh for months! They are both great methods for preserving food, especially fruits. Canning uses heat and airtight containers to make sure your food is safe, while fermenting uses helpful bacteria to create a tangy and delicious taste. These methods are perfect for lots of different foods, and they're definitely worth trying! Explore our range of  canned and prepared foods here.

Waste Not, Want Not

Produce doesn't have to meet the trash can just because it's past its prime. Soft fruit can become jam or smoothie stars while wilting veggies can shine in soups or stocks. Plus, wilting fruits and veggies can be turned into yummy, nutritious juice – and don't ditch the pulp! It's packed with fibre and perfect for adding to smoothies or soups.

Food Storage Game: Level Up

Storing your food the right way will help it stay fresh for longer. We recommend popping pantry staples in airtight jars (glass ones are the best!). Also, make sure items with shorter shelf lives are visible and not lost in the depths of your fridge. When you bring home new groceries, move the older products to the front, so you use them first.

Get Creative with Repurposing Food

Here are some practical ways to give your food a second life:

  • Use citrus fruit rinds and zest to add zing to other meals or whip up your own DIY cleaners.
  • Transform the strained pulp from homemade almond milk into almond flour – perfect for baking cookies and cakes.
  • Stale bread? Grind it into breadcrumbs or toast to make croutons.
  • Turn your leftover coffee grounds into a DIY body scrub.
  • Give your pot plants or garden a nutrient boost by adding coffee grounds and leftover tea leaves.
  • Dry leftover herbs and chillies to preserve them for future use. If you're short on patience, try drying them out in a low-heated oven for quick results.

Embrace Stems and Skins

Keep the skin on cucumbers, carrots, and potatoes, and cook broccoli and cauliflower stems along with the florets. Often, the skins and stems of veggies have the most nutrients, so it's a waste to toss them out! Just give your produce a good wash before using it to save on waste.

Make Your Freezer Your Best Buddy

Store leftover meals in the freezer for nights when you're in a rush. Other fun ways to make the most of your freezer include:

  • Dividing leftover tomato paste, coconut cream, oils, stock, sauces, and more into ice cube trays for super handy portions.
  • Chop up fresh herbs, pop them in an ice tray, cover with oil, and freeze. You'll have fresh herb portions ready to throw into your cooking when needed.
  • Overripe bananas? Chop 'em up and freeze them for future banana cake or dairy-free ice cream recipes.

DIY Stock Like a Boss

Scraps from onions, carrots, leeks, herbs, and celery make fantastic stock. Add them to a pot with enough water to cover (about 3/4 of the pot), bring to a boil, and simmer for at least 30 minutes for more flavour. Strain and enjoy! Keep your stock in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. Freeze in portion sizes, so you don't have to thaw the entire batch when you want to use it. You can even store your veggie scraps in the freezer until you're ready to make your stock.

Compost Like a Pro

Already have enough homemade stock? Start a compost bin or worm farm. There's even an app that helps you find people in your area with compost bins who are happy to take your food scraps!  Check it out here.

Chickens: Your New Food Waste Heroes

If you have backyard chickens or know someone who does, feed them some of your food scraps. A varied diet makes for the tastiest eggs!

Donate Your Extra Grub

Got a can of beans that'll never make it to your dinner table? Donate it to a charity or organisation like Oz Harvest before it expires, so someone in need can enjoy it.  Find a food bank near you.

Join Group Goodness and Save!

Want to cut down on food waste, save money, and build a sense of community? Consider joining or starting a food BUYING GROUP! By ordering whole food products in bulk and dividing them among members, you'll minimise plastic packaging and reduce waste. Get access to over 1,500 organic, natural, and sustainable products at bargain prices through the  Honest to Goodness Group Goodness portal. Visit Here! 

Combine individual orders with your group to maximise savings and create a shared shopping experience. As a bonus, being part of a buying group allows you to connect with others who are passionate about real food and sustainable living.

Remember, it's not about being perfect; it's about making conscious choices and continuously striving for improvement. As you learn and grow on this journey, you'll likely discover even more ways to minimize waste and make better use of your food. Don't hesitate to share your experiences and ideas with friends, family, and neighbours. Together, we can create a ripple effect, inspiring more and more people to join the fight against food waste.

As you take steps to reduce food waste, why not also choose products that align with your eco-friendly values? Honest to Goodness offers a fantastic range of high-quality, ethically sourced, and sustainable products to support your journey towards a greener lifestyle. From  pantry staples and bulk items to health and beauty and eco-friendly household essentials, you'll find everything you need to make a positive impact on the planet.

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