Out of date rotting food in dustbin

Simple ways you can do your bit for the planet and reduce food waste

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7 February 2022

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are some simple ways to do your bit for the planet by reducing your waste

Plan to succeed

“We try to plan out what we eat and only shop with a list,” says Katie Jackson, the founder of fruit and vegetable subscription scheme Wonky Box. “If you’re only buying what you know you’re going to eat, you waste a lot less.

Know what needs to be eaten

“I have a ‘use first’ box in my fridge, so everyone knows what should be eaten up first,” says Waste Not, Want Not (Bateman Books, $40) author Sarah Burtscher. “This doesn’t have to be fancy – I just write ‘use first’ on an old envelope and tape it to the container.”

Include your workplace

“The Wellington office I was working out of got its food waste collected every week by Kaicycle, which turns it into compost at an urban farm,” says Foodprint founder Michal Garvey.

Be creative with what you have

“As a pastry chef, everything I do is measured and planned out, so there’s very little waste,” says Wellington chef Vicki Young. “But if we ever have leftover cake or cake trimmings, there’s always trifle!”

Befriend your freezer

“A lot of people use it as a storage space, but your freezer is your best friend,” says Sarah. “I often cook once for two meals, then freeze half of it for another night. If you flat-pack what you freeze [in plastic bags], you’ll fit a lot more in your freezer.”

Take your waste with you

“I often have a takeaway container with me, so if I’m eating out I can take leftovers home in a waste-free way,” says Michal. “I went out for dinner recently with some people I didn’t know very well and when I took my container out at the end of the night their minds were blown.”

Be a wrap star

“If you want cut fresh herbs to stay fresh for longer, wrap them in a damp paper towel, then put them in a plastic bag (which you can wash and reuse) in the fridge. They’ll last for ages that way,” says Katie.

Give scraps a second life

“I have a stock box in my fridge, where I put all the vegetable odds and ends. When it’s full, I make vegetable stock out of it,” says Sarah.

What Kiwis waste most according to Love Food, Hate Waste

Bread, leftovers, oranges and mandarins, apples, bananas, potatoes, poultry, rice, lettuce and beef.

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