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Every year, consumers in developed countries waste about as much food as the whole of sub-Saharan Africa produces. That's over 220 million tonnes according to the UN. So, how can you do your part to reduce that amount?
Get started with the obvious
Don't throw it unless you have to. It's not always as obvious as it may sound, as half a sandwich or cup of coffee can be saved just as easily as a whole one.
Sometimes cutting down on waste means getting inventive. Try putting the last few beans left in the pan after breakfast in a dinnertime stew or chilli. Ham joints can go into a spaghetti carbonara and almost anything can go into a nice soup or stew. If you're scared of the kitchen, grab a cookbook, join a class or learn from a friend and expand your scope for creative recycling. Don't get too creative though; similar to the saying “as sure as eggs is eggs”, you could also say that “three-week-old eggs is rotten eggs”.
Cooking for big groups saves on things like oil, seasoning, energy and packaging. It means you can buy in bulk and save money whilst having a great excuse to dig in and chill out with your mates.
Whether your ten-year-old brought back fifty cookies from a party, or your workmates dumped the entire leftovers from team training day on you, everyone has had to deal with having more food than they know what to do with at one time or another. So, just give it away. This doesn't have to involve a lot of research or a trip to your local soup kitchen, there's always your son's scout group or a present for the big family next door.
Your old food becomes your garden’s new food and your plants will be all the better for it. If you have a vegetable patch or allotment, it can provide you with even more new food: it's the circle of life.
Get in touch with the next generation
Cutting down on your own food waste is one thing, but you can give everyone another reason to be grateful to you by passing on your wily, thrifty ways to your kids. This may involve the odd stern reminder to “eat up your veggies before pudding” but it can also be fun. Kids love to get creative (and messy) in the kitchen, so help them to put those blackcurrants that are close to going off into some muffins. They'll probably help you eat them in return, not to mention grow up to be every bit as responsible as you.