£60 a month: cost to average household of food thrown into the bin
Throwing away food waste is costing the average family in Northern Ireland £60 a month, according to Love Food Hate Waste.
The group is urging people to mark the European Week for Waste Reduction (November 22-30) by doing one thing differently in order to stem the waste of food that is hitting pockets as well as the environment.
Spokesperson Danielle McCormick said: "Food waste is a huge issue and is costing us billions right across the UK - that's why this year EWWR is focusing on this issue which affects us all.
"Wasting food is not only bad for the environment but is bad for our pockets too, costing the average family around £60 a month, a sum that would definitely be much more beneficial in our own pockets, especially in the approach to Christmas.
"There are two main reasons why we throw away good food - either we cook or prepare too much or we don't use it in time.
Over the course of the week we are calling on everyone to commit to doing one thing differently, which could include planning meals in advance instead of making it up on the day, or paying more attention to date labels rather than letting food go past its use-by date and ending up in the bin.
"Sharing their ideas through twitter @LFHW_UK using #DoOneThingDifferently will also help show how everyone's now doing their bit to reduce food waste. We would also encourage everyone to visit lovefoodhatewaste.com and make their pledge this EWWR, where you can also find loads of tips, recipes and suggestions of how to be more creative with leftovers rather than simply throwing them in the bin."
The call comes as waste reduction body WRAP NI hosts a major Waste Prevention Through Partnerships conference in Derry today, where Environment Minister Mark H Durkan joins WRAP CEO Dr Liz Goodwin to talk about ways to meet the EU household recycling target of 50% by 2020.
The most recent figures for Northern Ireland showed a drop of almost 2% of waste going to landfill and a rise in recycling and composting.
During last year's EWWR, Northern Ireland came second place in Europe for the greatest number of waste prevention actions, second only to Italy, according to Dr Goodwin.
Creative ways to use leftovers
- Bananas going brown can be peeled and frozen. Use frozen bananas in smoothies, banana loaf or bake in the oven with honey on top.
- Perk up day old pasta by tossing in tomato sauce, with leftover chicken or ham. Cover with mascarpone and bake at 180°C for 30 min.
- To keep the fridge smelling sweet, put in half a tub of Bicarbonate of Soda that's past its 'best before' date.
- Fruit that needs using up can be dried. Peel, core or stone it, then slice. Bake at 100°C for 45 min. Cool before storing.