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How We Reduced Food Waste: A Case Study

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 19 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Food Waste Reduce Love Food Hate Waste

Gail has made a concerted effort to reduce food waste after reading about the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. Someone directed her to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign website after she asked for tips on cutting her grocery bill. She lives with her husband.

She said: “It started off as being about saving a bit of money. However, I read about the scale of the problem of food waste and was also surprised to find out about some of the issues it can cause, for example being sent to landfill and releasing methane which is damaging to the environment. I presumed it just decomposed and that was that.

“There’s also all the wasted energy that goes into creating and disposing of wasted food. Wasting food is pointless and with some planning it is definitely avoidable.”

So, what has Gail done to reduce food waste? She said: “It’s been a gradual process. I didn’t do everything straight away, but added one thing at a time. Now we waste as little as we can but we’re still not perfect.”

Tactics to Reduce Food Waste

Gail explained some of the steps she has taken to dramatically reduce her food wastage: “I religiously meal plan now. I used to be a bit aimless at the supermarket but now I plan what we are going to have for each meal of the week, or just plan some meals but not the day. I just buy what we need and very few extras. I use my meal plan to write a list so I am not tempted to buy lots of things that we don’t need or we just end up eating for the sake of it.

“Also, we have started cooking more. We used to have lots of ready-made food and takeaways. We can both cook quite a few dishes now though and we try to learn a new recipe every few weeks.”


Gail said one of the major things she threw away previously was fruit and vegetables. She explained how she has reduced this: “My meal planning has helped a lot,” she says. “I also try to be realistic about the amount of fruit and veg we will actually eat. Before I tried to be healthy and get loads of fruit and veg but it was more than I could ever get through.

“I try to make time to shop for fruit and veg twice a week; that way it stays fresh. I also use special bags from Lakeland which keep fruit and veg fresher for longer.”

Food Storage

Along with the fruit and vegetable bags she uses, Gail has also learned other useful storage techniques that cut down on waste. She said: “I use my freezer a lot more now. If there are leftovers, I freeze them and I try to make sure there’s always enough for a portion. Stuff like Bolognese, lasagne, curry and chilli are good for nights when there’s no time or energy to cook.

“I also freeze meat etc. into portions and use some frozen vegetables and fruit.”

Keep Reducing Waste

Gail commented on the plans she has to reduce her household food waste even further: “I plan to start freezing bits of leftover veg and meat to make soup. I am also going to try “rubber chicken” where you buy a whole chicken, use it for as many meals as possible, then make soup from the carcass.

“Additionally, we are planning to look into composting.”

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