Eat up

Reduce your food waste

Food is fantastic. But, perhaps because it’s quite so appealing, we often overestimate how much we actually need to buy. The result? A massive chicken curry that never gets finished. A BOGOF offer on hot cross buns that nourishes a mould culture more than it feeds you. A sack of potatoes that are starting their own farm.

Although UK households have hugely reduced how much food and drink they waste in recent years, we still throw away an average of £500 worth of food every year. Make the pledge to reduce that waste - we'll send you a few tips to help you along the way.

Why

Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Waste

The average UK household wastes the equivalent of eight meals a week.1That’s one delicious meal per day, plus an extra, chucked straight in the bin! Together, we stack up 4.5 million tons of food waste, which the already stuffed landfills have to swallow.1

38

million wheelie bins could be filled with the edible food and drink we waste every year.1

Money

A bargain is only a bargain if you need it, as Mum always says. The ‘3 for £5’ special offer on the strawberries is no good if the berries are going to end up forgotten and rotten. Spending money on something you'll never use is pretty pointless. Collectively, the UK squanders around £14 billion on never-to-be-munched-on food.1

£60

worth of food is binned by the average UK family every month.1

Climate change

When we throw food away, all the energy that went into growing, producing and transporting it goes to waste too. Moreover, rotting organic waste on landfill sites produces the greenhouse gas methane, which is even more potent than CO2.

If food waste (across the supply chain) was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. When it comes to the food waste created by households in the UK, we create the equivalent of about 21 million tons CO2. The greenhouse gasses associated with this food is equivalent to that generated by one in five cars on UK roads.1

Water

Water is a precious resource used throughout the food production process. Each person throws away the equivalent of 280 litres of water a day with the food they bin.2 That's double the amount of water the average household uses every day.

Global Goals

In September 2017, an historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Eat up' pledge, you are contributing to the following SDG targets:

12.3: By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

How

The good news is: cutting down on our household food waste isn’t just easy, it can be downright delicious!

Here are some top tips:

  • Get excited about what’s on the menu this week and plan ahead. Extra points if you write a shopping list and stick to it.
  • Don’t fall for bulk offers, unless you know you'll eat it all or have space in the freezer.
  • Freeze your leftovers - from wine (pop it in ice trays and use in cooking later) to stews (label it clearly!).
  • Be creative and use up the leftovers - why not turn those squishy bananas into a happiness-boosting bread or a lovely milkshake?
  • Take leftovers into work for lunch, or share with your neighbours through Olio, the food sharing app.
  • Learn about storing food properly - the longer it stays fresh, the more likely you are to eat it. Two quick tips to get you started: bread in the fridge will go off, while most fruit will like it there.
  • Trust your senses. Remember that ‘best before’ dates mean exactly that – they’re best before, but they’re ok after too.
  • Learn to pickle and ferment! So many fruit and vegetables can be stored for ages if you turn them into something else first. So if you come into a glut, see if you can pickle it before you chuck it!

Love Food Hate Waste is a great source of simple advice on how to store your food and also allows you to look for tasty recipes with the ingredients you already have.

Success Stories

2,937

Pledges
in total

142,547kg

CO2
pledged

I didn't nail it completely and there were a couple of times that things had to get thrown out because I left them too long but I was more conscious of that behaviour and that is half the battle.

I really think I improved a lot the past weeks and reduced my food waste. I really tried to think out of the box when I had leftovers in my fridge by looking into some creatives recipes! I will definitely continue and I am sure I can reduce food waste even more!

We used much better potion control and food prep to ensure that we didn't waste any food. We also did less "big shops" to ensure things didn't go to waste in our fridge before we got to them.

Found stir fry's and Soups great for making use of food waste.

Zero food waste. The very few bits that were inedible went in the garden.

I buy food on an impulse which usually leads to unnecessary waste. Progress has been made over the last two months - with the aim to continue till I nail it!

Where ever I can I try to keep and use leftovers, even if that mean that my meals aren't the most amazing all the time, being more functional than anything. It is difficult to do it perfectly all the time, but I've definitely gotten better at using everything I buy when I need to.

I have created at least three new recipes from getting creative with my leftovers!

Saved me so much money!

Although this may count as cheating, I have used the holy month of Ramadan to have full control on what I eat. I ate moderately, and I can remember binning out anything during the last couple of months.

This one was hard! I'm going to carry it forward. I've signed up for a weekly fruit and veg box which is helping. Let's see how I get on over the next two months...

I reduced my shopping so just bought, then cooked and ate, which helped. Definitely reduced my waste but costs increased. Need to find balance

Found this pledge more challenging, but intend to keep trying to have less food waste

Really valuable exercise - has reprogrammed how I look at my fridge!

I am enjoying the challenge of creating recipes from random vegetable sin my fridge. Brussel sprout stir fry is remarkably tasty!

Leftovers in our house take on a new meaning now. We actually shop with what we can make with the left overs in mind! We do need more empty takeaway containers/Tupperware now though!

The pledge was a reminder of being more careful of my food waste. I ate at home a lot more and started being more adventurous on getting the most out of what was in my fridge, trying to use all parts of the vegetable rather than just the head for example. Brilliant idea to help make change!

Absolutely nailed it! Rather than eating and shopping for what we wanted at the time, we made the most of leftovers and cupboard staples. There was a significant decrease in the amount of food we threw out.

By trying not to waste food I have saved money and planned my meals which has been a change for the better. I am trying to encourage others to do the same.

We discovered some tasty new recipes that used up bread (as breadcrumbs) while fulfilling this pledge!

Great idea waste less food and also save me money.

I have managed to stick to a shopping list and used any leftovers for meals reducing any waste.

Bringing lunch to work more often helps keep the food waste low

I'm buying less food and am wasting less.