Reducing Food Waste This Easter
For families that celebrate it, Easter is normally a time when relatives come together and enjoy lavish dinners to mark the end of Lent or simply to make the most of a day or two off work. Similar to Christmas, an excess of festive food and snacks are bought in, much of which inevitably goes to waste. In Ireland alone there is over one million tonnes of food waste every year, and a third of this comes from households. That’s an equivalent of one ton of waste, and between £500 and £1,000 per home.
Easter this year may feel like a very different occasion than usual, with the outbreak of COVID-19 forcing government restrictions on large gatherings which means there will be no religious services held in public, and households have been instructed not to host visitors and risk spreading the virus.
Nonetheless, families may still be tempted to celebrate the holiday as best they can by purchasing a glut of groceries to indulge in while on lockdown. Here are some tips you should instead follow to reduce the amount of waste your house is producing this Easter.
Refrain from over-buying
It may seem obvious but the easiest way to cut down on both food and packaging waste is by simply buying less. A percentage of the public has been guilty of “panic buying” in light of the pandemic and this only leaves less on the shelves for others, in turn putting more unwanted strain on shops and supply chains to meet the demand. This Easter, why not do your bit for the world and buy only enough to do, and not more than what is needed.
Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you’re hungrier or can stomach a significant amount of more food than you would normally. Bigger meals mean that more waste is created, and rarely does that ring more true than with the feasts many families produce in celebration at Easter. There may be exceptional circumstances in the world this year, but good advice in general is to pre-portion the food you have wherever possible. Less food therefore will need to be cooked all at once, only the amount which is reasonably expected to be eaten, while the rest can be saved for later.
Weigh Your Food
Getting into the habit of weighing food helps determine portion sizes and is a good way to work out how much you really need. A food scale will prove to be a worthwhile investment as you become more aware and will perhaps even be shocked at how much your regular intake weighs. Getting into the habit of weighing food is a natural means to reducing portion sizes, food waste and even to lose weight.
Freeze What You Don’t Use
When meals aren’t pre-portioned, there are more often than not leftovers and this food usually makes its way to the bin. Many foods can be frozen, preserving them to be used at a later date. If you have enough left that it could do for another day, don’t focus on when exactly you might be in the mood for it again, but instead package it up and you or someone else will eventually be glad you kept some.
The final thing to make the list is meal planning. By meal planning before you shop, you will tend to buy food specifically within dates it will be used by, and you will also use everything you buy. If you stick to your meal plan, you will find huge savings on your shopping bill this Easter too.
So there you have it, a few simple ways to reduce the amount of food and food packaging you throw away this Easter. These tips are great for all year round, and whether you use them at Easter or Christmas, they will be equally as beneficial. Don’t forget to use your brown bin and a biodegradable bag for any food your house is disposing of. Read more about why our brown bins are important here.
Here is another article with more information on how to take care of your food waste caddy.