Our top 10 tips and hacks to waste less food


Tips and Tricks


Monday, May 15, 2017 1:00 PM

Leftovers on shelf


Most of know that food waste is bad for our household budgets and for the environment, and have probably tried a few things to cut back the waste at home.

But somehow you always seem to end up binning an unfortunate amount of shriveled fruit and forgotten leftovers every week. Sound familiar?

Food is wasted right along the supply chain, from farm to supermarket to consumer. But food waste by consumers like you and I has the largest impact on climate change, contributing 37 per cent of the total carbon footprint of food waste.1 

Why? Because the food we waste has already been processed, transported and cooked, generating greenhouse gases and using resources at every step. 

So if you want to finally break the food waste cycle, here are our top tips to help you get there.


Our top 10 tips to waste less food


1  Check the freezer tonight for anything you can defrost for tomorrow night’s meal. Do it while you're prepping tonight's meal and you’ll keep a regular turn-over of food in the freezer and save yourself time in the kitchen. 

2  Plan at least some of your meals, perhaps for weeknights or just 1-2 days ahead. Plan meals around the items you most need to use up. Download our simple weekly meal planner to keep on the fridge or try using a meal plan app on your phone. 


shopping list

Plan at least a few meals a week and start with what you’ve got.


3  Buy fresh produce 2-3 times a week instead of weekly. Bulk buying is great if you’re organized enough to use it all up, but for most people, it will end up costing you more in food waste than what you saved.

4  Do a 30-second fridge and pantry check before you shop.  Or take a quick pic on your phone so you can check if needed. Knowing you already have two capsicums is the first step to avoiding them ending up in the bin.


Two capsicums

Two isn’t always better than one. Check for items you already have before you shop.


5  Buy only what you need (aka don’t snap up a 2-for-1 deal unless you actually need two). Changing your mindset to one of buying only what you need will change your life and your bank balance, as well as what’s in your bin.

6  Keep fruits and vegies separate and move very ripe fruit away from unripe items. Fruits emit ethylene, especially when very ripe, which can speed up the ripening and spoil other foods nearby. Learn what to store where.


Fresh fruit

Fruit emits ethylene which can make vegies spoil faster. 


7  Use the entire food. Keep the skin on fruit and vegetables, like carrots, apples and potatoes. This is a great time-saver and reduces food waste - the peel is also nutritious! Add celery leaves to salad or throw in soups. Whiz-up day old bread into breadcrumbs. Use your BBQ chicken carcass for stock. Check out this video for a great tip for cauliflower leaves.

8  Snack on perishable foods like fruits and vegetables. Try vegetable sticks with your favourite dip. Apple slices or celery with peanut butter and sultanas. Pop some cherry tomatoes into the lunchbox. Boiled eggs are also a great lunchbox addition. This is a great way to reduce food waste and get some more fruit and veg into your diet.


Fresh food snack

Snack on fresh food to use it up (and it’s better for you - bonus!)


9  Freeze leftovers in individual portion sizes. You’ll always have quick meals ready to go for lunch or dinner and you’ll save big bucks by not throwing food away. 


Leftovers on shelf

Think of leftovers as free homemade fast food.


10  Start a weekly leftovers night. Make it a household challenge to cook from what you’ve got in the fridge, freezer and pantry. The regular clear-out will make your food storage areas much more manageable and you can get kids involved in thinking up new ways to use food. Almost anything can be thrown into an omelet or salad, add your leftovers to some beaten eggs or salad leaves and voila!


While some food waste is unavoidable (like egg shells or meat bones), most of it is simply because we forget or run out of time. Hopefully this has given you at least one new idea you can try to reduce your household’s food waste. 


Do you have any other tips you’d add to our top 10 food saving tips? Let us know on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LoveFoodHateWasteVictoria/ 



'Food wastage footprint: Impacts on natural resources' FAO 2013


Love your food

Each year Victorian households throw out 4,500 tonnes of canned and frozen vegetables and salad.