How to reduce food waste
Food waste costs the average London household £60 a month, so reducing your food waste is good for your pocket, not just the environment. And as most food waste is avoidable, most households can do this easily!
Potatoes, bread, milk, leftover meals, soft drinks and meat are the foods most regularly wasted, so these are usually the best things to focus on first.
Make a plan
Cooking tips to reduce food waste:
- Plan for at least 3-4 days at a time
- Think about what meals you need. Are you eating out or ordering takeaway?
- Check your fridge and cupboards. What do you have that needs eating soon?
- Plan what you want to eat! Choosing seasonal foods will mean food is fresher, will last longer and is likely to be cheaper
- Use a meal planner to write everything down!
- Plan to cook double or more and put some portions in the freezer
- Find recipes in advance and make a list of everything you need
- You don't have to plan every meal in the week – just having a clear idea for 4-5 meals will allow you to be flexible with unexpected leftovers
Check out our handy downloadable meal planner (pdf, 1.2 MB)
Advice for smart shopping:
- Make a shopping list
- Make a note of what you already have in the fridge/cupboard
- Shop local or from specialists e.g. butcher, greengrocer, fishmonger
- Don’t get distracted by offers and end-of-aisle displays
- Choose fresh foods that can be frozen
- Check the labels for best before dates – the longer the better!
Download our waste-free shopping list (pdf, 1.2 MB)
Be savvy with your storage
Best ways to store food at home to reduce food waste:
- Keeping fruit and veg it in its original packaging can keep it fresher for longer. For example, a shrink-wrapped cucumber will last around five times longer than non-shrink wrapped!
- Slice your bread and store in the freezer in a freezer bag. You can get out a slice at a time to put in the toaster
- Cut up overripe bananas and freeze to make the perfect base for a smoothie
- Did you know you can freeze cheese, eggs, milk, herbs and breadcrumbs?
- Dried food lasts a whole lot longer than fresh and is a great option if you don’t have a freezer. Think pasta, lentils, rice, beans, quinoa, chickpeas…the list is endless
Get detailed information and advice on how to waste less food from the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign.
For advice see:
- Be savvy with your storage
- Think about the fish you eat
- Grow your own!
- Eat some meat-free meals - perhaps consider 'meat-free Monday' This is a helpful guide to well-known dishes but with no meat!
- Get creative with your leftovers!
How you can change the way you buy and eat food:
Local surplus food initiatives :
Find out how else you can tackle climate change
Up to: Food waste recycling
Updated: 26 May 2021