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This spring, join the fight against food waste!

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As spring approaches, many of us are throwing open our windows, having a spring clean and generally having a bit of a reset. As more fresh produce comes into season, that reset might also extend to changing our food habits as we emerge from a winter of nourishing stews and warming soups. So what better time to review what’s in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and make sure nothing goes to waste? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to waste less food, save more money and protect the planet!

We’re the world’s third best recyclers – so let’s make sure that includes food!

Here in Wales we take such pride in recycling that we’re the third best in the world at it. But there’s always room for improvement, and Wales Recycles research shows that food waste is one area where we can do even better. Our survey shows that 90% of Welsh residents believe that food should be valued, and never thrown in the rubbish bin. Instead, they believe we should try to use up all the food we have, and recycle what can’t be eaten. 

Despite these good intentions, however, a quarter of the average bin is made up of food. This adds up to an enormous 110,000 tonnes a year, which, to put it into perspective, is enough to fill 3,300 double decker buses! And this comes at a cost: over 80% of that binned food could have been eaten, costing the average household £49 per month, or nearly £600 a year. Eek! 

 A little later, we’ll come on to what happens when you recycle the food waste you can’t eat, but first let’s start with some easy ways to make the most of your food. 

How to make your food go further

Saving food from the bin means saving money as well as cutting food waste, so it’s a win win. With so many quick, easy and low-cost recipes to use up the food you have in your fridge, freezer and cupboards there’s no reason not to get creative in the kitchen! Here are a few ideas to get you started this spring:  

  • Use up chopped potatoes and veggies in one pot stews and curries. 

  • Put fruit in pancakes and smoothies 

  • Blitz up vegetables into soups 

  • Transform bread ends into pizza with this easy recipe that the kids will love 

  • Keep your Easter treats going with these delicious ideas 

  • Love your leftovers – made too much? Save some for lunch next day, or freeze a portion for another day 

  • Freeze more – you can freeze a lot more than you think – even milk! – so if you’re not going to get through something before it goes off, pop it in the freezer (you may need to parboil veg first) 

You’ll find loads more recipe inspiration for any ingredients you have that need using up over on our sister site, Love Food Hate Waste

So what should you do with the food you can’t eat – the bones and eggshells left behind after you’ve cooked a meal? Well, there’s a simple message to remember this spring and beyond:  

Hands tying a food caddy liner in a food caddy

If you can’t eat it, recycle it!

Remember that 110,000 tonnes of binned food we mentioned earlier? Well, that includes over 20,000 tonnes of food waste you wouldn’t want to eat, such as banana peels or bones, which could have been turned into green renewable energy to power our homes! 

 Yes, that’s what happens to food waste when it’s recycled here in Wales, and it’s a fantastic source of energy. Just four banana peels would create enough energy to charge a tablet, while 16 would generate enough to watch a full 6 Nations rugby game on TV this spring. Recycling one caddy full of food waste would create enough energy to power a home for an hour, or a fridge for 18 hours, which would keep all your newly prepared meals fresh into the next day! 

So how can you make sure your used teabags, empty eggshells and roast chicken bones get turned into renewable energy? It’s simple: always put inedible food, into your food waste caddy for recycling. Even if it’s gone mouldy! You can keep your caddy fresh as a daisy by cleaning it regularly, emptying it before it gets too full and using a liner. If you don’t yet have a food caddy, you can order one from your local council. 

 Here in Wales, nearly 80% of us already recycle our food waste because we want to do our bit for the environment. Together, we can do even more to create power for Wales – remember, the power is in your hands

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