Binning food is super sad. Whether it’s something you would have eaten (were it not covered in mould), something you won’t use up that you could give to someone… you’re just not sure who… or using up the byproducts from your daily latte, I think it’s safe to say that we all like to see good food go to a good home (our tums, or our community’s tums).
Knowing that food waste should be avoided is only half the battle though – different food/life crises call for different solutions! What should you do if you’ve eaten spoonful of ricotta cheese and don’t want the rest? Or your mushrooms are starting to turn? Or your garden needs pepping up?
Here’s how to solve these (and more) below. #1 is my fave 🙂
Solution: OLIO App
For when: You’ve popped one spoonful of ricotta cheese in a recipe and won’t use the rest.
What? The OLIO App – aka the “food sharing revolution” – uses your location to show you what food is going spare (also including non-food items) in your neighbourhood. Whether it’s tomato sauce, coconut flour or a slightly-less-than full box of Cornflakes, check it out in the week leading up to payday.
Also, post your own items, Gumtree-style. It’s a great way to get friendly with your neighbourinos, too.
Solution: Community Fridge
For when: You forgot to bring a sandwich to work.
What? Find (and drop off your own) surplus, in-date veggies, bread and sandwiches in your local community fridge. You never know what treasures you might discover (make sure it’s the good kind, not the out of date/a little funky kind).
Start your own community fridge here.
Solution: Making meals in batches
For when: You’re about to go away for the weekend, and those mushrooms look a bit sad
What? We often buy a punnet of lovely mushrooms, use a few in some pasta, only to find a few days later that they’re looking more tanned than is healthy having been in a 4c fridge. When you’re whipping up something anyway, use up more of what you’ve got, then freeze them in individual portions. One of the biggest gifts to myself is having four portions of lasagne in the freezer, just waiting for me to have a disorganised/lazy day. They don’t wait very long.
Solution: Buying 10p bread
For when: You’re poor (and dubious about a supermarket’s surplus food strategy)
What? If you’re a toast kinda girl, you always need a stock supply of bread in your freezer, which is also one of the most common items to be wasted. Lurk around indie bakeries or supermarket’s own departments at closing time, or even before. If you’re a regular visitor to your local shop, you soon learn when things start to get reduced.
If no-one buys it, it might just completely go to waste. You’re doing them a favour!
For when: You can’t bear the idea of people going hungry.
What? There are plenty of partnerships now going on between business and charities to better utilise surplus food (rather than making a beeline for the bin), but often volunteers are handy for taking food from Point A (cafe) to Point B (needy tums).
You sometimes get a little something from the pile for your efforts. Also, if you’re not too shabby in the culinary department, consider lending a hand at surplus cafes like the Real Junk Food Project. This started in the UK, but you can now find them in Europe and Down Under, too!
Solution: Popping into your local Waitrose/Costa/Starbucks etc
For when: Your garden needs a bit of pepping up
What? Your daily latte leaves behind a little pile of coffee grounds, which just so happens to be a delightful, natural fertiliser AND natural slug repellent! You can pop into your local Starbucks or Costa and ask for a free bag, or you can scoop your own from a tub in Waitrose (usually found near the gardening department).