Today marks the start of Zero Waste Week and this year the theme is reducing food waste. To begin, we are going to head to the fridge and look at how to reduce fresh food waste in particular.
Food Waste in the UK
The amount of food waste the average UK household throws feels incomprehensible. It’s estimated this sits just below a quarter of our weekly food shop and costs around £700 a year. This is extremely damaging for the environment, as it leads to seriously dangerous levels of methane being produced. However, whilst buying more than we eat is wasteful, it isn’t uncommon; honestly, we are all guilty of it sometimes!
One solution to cut back on food waste in your household is to consider giving your food storage system a slight tweak. To reduce fresh food waste in your fridge, you could give an “Eat me First” shelf a try.
Create An ‘Eat Me First’ Fridge Shelf To Reduce Fresh Food Waste
One of the leading causes of food waste is that old saying; “out of sight, out of mind”. If food isn’t in our view, it gets forgotten about. So, the idea of an “Eat me First” shelf – also known as the “Eat this First” (ETF) system – is to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Whilst there are many variations of the idea, the principle is to take an area of your fridge that is visible (perhaps most at eye level, and/ or a clearly labelled shelf) and allocate that for perishable items that need eating first. When grabbing a snack or preparing a meal, the household starts here. This method can make it possible to reduce fresh food waste in such a simple way.
Helpful Tips To Reduce Fresh Food Waste
Of course, the first and most important thing to consider is what will or wont work in your household. This varies from place-to-place and situation-to-situation of course. It helps to be clear to everyone involved what the shelf is for and what it should achieve. It can’t work if the idea isn’t communicated properly and understood by other members of the household!
As previously mentioned, you’ll want the products closest to expiry there. The idea that these items are first come, first served. They can be snack foods, leftovers, and lunch/dinner ingredients (as well as whatever else makes sense for your home). It might help to have these in an open box and/ or with a label.
Although perishability is a consideration, it might not be the only one. If food isn’t getting eaten and the room is neede, the shelf space could also be used for that. However, don’t forget to rotate foods (and drinks) as expiry draws closer.
Be Prepared To Adapt
Sometimes ideas don’t pan out and that’s OK. Don’t give up though! Adjust and tweak your Eat Me First system to fit around your household.
Whether picky eaters, SEND considerations, or unforeseen practicalities; there are any number of potential roadblocks out there. But part of what makes the Zero Waste ideology work so well is that we are all taking our own routes towards the same destination.