3 Ways to Waste Less Food

Lady holding jar of honey and bag of coffee

Everyone loves to eat well and seeing a full fridge or bulging cupboard means that we have choice when it comes to making meals. But too often many of us are cooking more than we need and then throwing away perfectly good food.

Supermarkets have made things so easy when it comes to loading up the trolley. Special offers, two-for-one deals and super-sized packets are very enticing.

The fact that everything is wrapped up in convenient packages means that we often end up with excessive plastic packaging and more food than we need.

1. Buy less, more often

In the past, shoppers went to the greengrocers and bought fresh two or three times a week. You can do similar these days at the supermarket, buying loose fruit and vegetables in the quantities you actually need. If they don’t already offer this, pressure your local stores to offer loose items.

Better still, go food shopping with a plan. That means thinking up a few menus in advance, some of your favourite recipes and maybe something that can make use of a few leftovers. Read some ideas of how to make the most of your leftovers.

Knowing what you need and when will help if you have a busy family schedule and probably save you money. Without realising it, many families are throwing away hundreds of pounds of food every week!

2. Empty those cupboards

Once a month it’s probably worth checking what’s in the cupboards. There’s nearly always a few tins hidden at the back, packets that have sell-by dates, pasta and rice that should be used up if they have been opened.

It sounds obvious, but making sure existing food is eaten before you buy more will mean less gets thrown away.

The same applies to the fridge. Just because it’s chilled doesn’t mean it will stay fresh forever. Make sure you check the use by dates and incorporate those existing jars and tubs into your weekly menus before they go to waste.

3. Get back to nature

Hopefully, you’ll cut down on the amount of food that needs to be thrown away. However, what is left over can still be put to use – in the garden.

Putting scraps in your food bin or caddy is great, but this still costs time and money to process at the recycling centres.

Composting some of your own garden and food waste will help you monitor what you are throwing away and generate some rich compost to help your flowers and vegetables grow. It can also become a great learning experience for the kids. Greater Manchester residents can get £10 off their compost of bokashi bin.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that any reduction in food waste is a positive step forward. Few of us will ever be perfect, but small changes by everyone will soon add up to a huge difference.

Buy and eat what you need, then compost anything that’s left over.


About Jules and Karen from Tarn Replenished: We’re a refill shop for household essentials where we look to reduce plastic waste by reusing bottles and containers. Soon to offer loose dry foods, and we love showcasing local crafts that promote skills and community engagement.


Recycle for Greater Manchester