How can I tackle food waste?

There are many ways that you can reduce your food waste and in turn, reduce your carbon footprint. Many of the foodstuffs that we eat produce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. In producing food, emissions come from cultivation equipment, food processing, transportation, packaging, and livestock. Agriculture also covers a vast amount of land, whether that be to grow crops, grow feed for livestock, or for livestock grazing. A colossal 9.5 million tonnes of food are wasted in the UK every year. By reducing our food waste, this will help to reduce emissions associated with waste disposal as well as emissions associated with production if we are all more savvy with what, and how much, we buy. Northumberland National Park Net Zero Officer, Alice, shares five ways to tackle food waste.

Check the ‘use by’ date

Most food packaging will tell you a ‘sell by’, a ‘use by’ and a ‘best before’ date. As a consumer, it is the ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates we are interested in. The ‘best before’ date simply tells us when the food will be at its best. But it is completely safe to still consume food after this date, up until the ‘use by’ date.

Make a shopping list

Plan your meals ahead and write a shopping list according to what you know you will need. Sticking to your list as you shop, should reduce the risk of you buying things that you don’t need and prevent food being wasted.

Freeze your leftovers

Freezing your leftovers is a great way of reducing food waste and is good for your pocket too! You can also freeze food that is nearing its ‘use by’ date and defrost it later when you are ready to use it.

Compost bin or wormery

Invest in, or build your own, compost bin or wormery. Compost bins and wormeries enable your food waste to biodegrade to create a nutrient-rich organic material that you can add to soil and help your garden plants to flourish! This will also prevent your food waste from going into landfill. Click here to find out more about wormeries and what foodstuffs are safe for worms.

Leftovers for pets

Where it is safe to do so, you could consider feeding leftovers to your pets. Whether its leftover vegetables to your pet rabbit or unfinished Sunday lunch to your dog, you could save on your food waste by giving it to your pet. Seek guidance about pet nutrition to ensure you don’t feed anything to your pet that is not safe for them or cause them to become overweight!

For more information visit:

How to use up leftovers – BBC Good Food

Build a Compost Bin – BBC Gardeners World Magazine

How to set up a wormery – BBC Gardeners World Magazine

Healthy Leftovers Your Dog Will Love – PetHelpful