From Earth Day to World Food Day we are becoming more aware of how we need to make more climate friendly decisions that reduce our carbon footprint. One major way in which we can all make a difference is to adopt more sustainable eating habits.
With 6.7 million tonnes of food wasted per year in the UK and a third to a half of all food produced thrown away globally, we all play a part in the far reaching problem of food waste.
With decomposing food in landfills emitting methane greenhouse gas that contributes to global heating, this waste carries a serious environmental cost.
As a company, we are aware we need to start making a difference within our accommodations but we also want to make sure we are promoting this to our students so we can all look to help out, that’s why we’ve listed below 5 ways to reduce food waste whilst at University.
1) Make the most of Left Overs-
You can either cook food with your flat mates to reduce the amount of food leftover or alternatively make friends with Tupperware. If you have restricted space for leftover food in your fridge, especially if you are sharing with others it can be a bit hard storage wise, so why not set up a weekly cooking rota with your flat/house mates? The majority of food is packaged for families rather than one person which can be difficult when it comes to portion sizes. If you choose to cook for your flat/house mates it can become a fun little ritual within your household. It’s also an opportunity for you all to sit together and socialise, as well as lowering your food budget as you can split up whose buying what each week. If you choose the Tupperware option instead that’s also fine but when you’ve got a couple of potato wedges left over or some excess beans floating around and you aren’t sure what to do with them, don’t chuck them in the bin. There are lots of ideas available online these days to make the most of what you’ve got leftover. Try for example Kitche- the app that helps you come up with recipes.
2) Keep an eye on date labels-
Do you know what the most popular wasted food is? Over 240 million slices of bread are chucked away every year. Why is this happening? Because of the expiry dates. Be aware when you are shopping of when foods are due to go off, if you don’t think you’ll get through the whole loaf in a week then freeze it. Bread freezes really well, particularly for toast, so make sure to pop it in the freezer if you aren’t going to use it.
3) Eat Seasonally-
You hear this mentioned a lot, but who actually knows what’s in season when it’s supposed to be? When is a strawberry good to go- I don’t know! As a country we are used to getting whatever food we want any time of the year but this can have mass effects not only on waste but the overall carbon footprint. You can find out what’s in season through this handy little infographic here. Alternatively instead of shopping in your nearest supermarket find your nearest independent greengrocers or refill shop and see what suggestions they have.
4) Plan Your Meals Out-
This can be tricky as you may decide to have one thing on one day and then end up heading out for an Archie’s with your mates. So if you buy something in, try to get over that urge to get the Burger and cook at home instead or if you can’t resist a takeaway then cook what you bought and freeze it in your new fancy Tupperware as mentioned above. Don’t over buy- if you’re anything like me you go in to a shop with a list and come out with 5 tubs of Pringles. There is a cure for this- if you make a list stick to it, if you don’t need to go down certain aisles then don’t- you aren’t playing Supermarket Sweep. As the saying goes ‘buy what you need’.
5) Donate don’t dump-
3.2 million tonnes of the food wasted per year is sent to landfill – enough to fill 5,400 Olympic sized swimming pools! 75% of all food that is sent to landfill comes from our households. You can help make a difference with the tips we’ve listed above. A lot of the Student Unions are starting to progress towards refill shops, foodbank donations and adding food waste bins to their campuses so food is converted into fuel and renewable energy rather than going to landfill. There are also apps online for where you can look to grab food that is due to go to waste- if you fancy grabbing a meal from one of the restaurants at a cheaper rate try out ‘Too Good to Go’ this app shows you places in the city that are offering meals for cheaper than usual that you can go and collect. If you don’t fancy restaurant food you can also network with other households around the city using the app-OLIO. Here people put up food that they’ve purchased that is due to go to waste that you can also collect.
dwell Student Living's aim and focus is to become more sustainable in the way we work as a business. We must become more aware of waste within our office environments and continue to promote awareness of how we can help students and our staff run a more eco friendly community. We understand we have a long way to go and will continue to improve our knowledge of how we can help make a difference on our carbon footprint. If you have any suggestions for what we could do as a company get in touch.