Creating a Waste Free Kitchen
Australians are wasters. Not because they want to be, not because they like it, but because much of the time, they don’t even realise it’s happening.
If you ask many people where they think most of our food waste is being produced, the most common answer is “café and restaurants”. For some reason we tend to think that just because large amounts of food passes through the door of a restaurant, they must be less efficient than the average domestic kitchen.
We couldn’t be more wrong. Australian households are far larger wasters than our businesses, each year throwing out 4 billion tonnes of food in the household garbage.
Costing households up to $1000 a year, this waste is not simply expensive for our pockets, it’s expensive for our environment. The methane released by food waste in landfill is bad news for our atmosphere – a gas punching far above it’s weight, it’s 25 more potent than the carbon dioxide.
The good news? Well, if it’s happening in our kitchens, there are easy things that we can do to make a change. All we have to do is create a new approach to how we store, cook and eat our food.
“Household Food Waste” is full of simple, quick and powerful ideas on where things might be going wrong in your kitchen and the steps you can take to change them. Stop by “fridge safety” for info on the secret life of your fridge , take at a peek at
But before you get started, you’ll need some tools. The following are Do Something! FoodWise’s 3 favourite tools to building a waste free kitchen. You don’t have to buy them, you don’t need a particular brand, all you need is to make a very small investment of thought and you’re away.
- A piece of paper.
Planning is a key part of any good approach to food. A piece of paper – and in the modern age, that can mean anything from an A4 sheet, to an iphone, android, ipad or back of the hand – can act as a record keeper, reminding you what you already have at home, what needs using up when, how much of an ingredient you need to buy and what kind of thing to invest in next time. It’s a simple tool, but we are yet to meet a great chef that isn’t using ‘a piece of paper’.
- Clear airtight storage containers, an efficient fridge and freezer and a measuring cup.
Storing and measuring your food right is part of Saving Food 101. Having a collection of decent quality airtight containers – clear are great so you remember what’s inside when you open your fridge – can hugely extend the life of your leftovers by preventing contamination and spoiling from the small ecosystem that is your fridge.
Having an efficient fridge and freezer – as well as saving you money on your electricity bill – will also prolong the life of your food by maintaining a steady environment. Something as basic as a measuring cup will also keep your meals at a manageable level, especially with the help of some great online tools such as the Servings Size Calculator.
- A sense of adventure.
Cookbooks and recipes are a fantastic place to start when deciding how to use up the food in your fridge. Australian and international chefs, online recipe finders and bloggers provide swathes of recipes each day to inspire delicious meals with any ingredient you care to have.
Where a devotion to ‘following a recipe’ goes wrong is when we become afraid to deviate from what’s written on the page and start obsessing about having every single item. Very quickly we start seeking out more and more ingredients – even when they’re out of season – and lose focus on the task at hand – using the food you already have in your kitchen.
By cooking with a sense of adventure and being unafraid to try new things with the ingredients we have to hand, we can become better cooks and save some serious money at the same time. So long as we keep a close eye on our portion sizes, a little creativity can go a long way in reducing how much we waste.