Almost three quarters of all food waste, including cooking oils and fats, comes from households. Reducing this waste and its impact on our environment is one of the key aspects to creating a more sustainable future.
Food Waste Facts
However, one of the very few silver linings of the Covid pandemic and the continuing lockdowns, is that we are beginning to see a shift in attitude and more importantly, behaviours associated with limiting the amount of food we throw away.
This is great news to the team here at Cater Oils. Our entire business is built around recycling waste cooking oil and so we understand the impact food waste has on our environment.
Whether it’s the limited shopping opportunities meaning people have to plan ahead and make the most of the food in their cupboards and fridge to save another trip to the supermarket; or a focus on eating better, saving money or simply people having more time to cook fresh meals, reuse leftovers and experiment in the kitchen, a significant drop was reported in the UK’s food waste during last year’s lockdown.
Lockdown Lifestyle Limits Leftovers
A survey conducted by WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) in September 2020 uncovered some key findings about consumer behaviours and attitudes to food waste.
In the first Lockdown food waste levels dropped from 24.1% (Nov 2019) to 13.7% (Apr 2020). The number increased slightly at the end of the first lockdown, and balanced out between 17.5% and 17.9% in June to September 2020. This has left the self reported food waste level at about 6.2% less than pre-lockdown.
However, as we enter yet another lockdown situation, and lifestyles remain in a serious state of flux, can we expect to see this level continue?
During the lockdown toward the end of 2020, 23% of people reported that they felt under more pressure timewise, with fewer people furloughed, more working from home and increased childcare commitments, there’s a possibility that, despite good intentions, and the previously maintained behaviours in relation to reducing food waste, people will find themselves under too much pressure to continue good habits.
What can you do to lower your food waste?
If you regularly cook large meals and have leftovers, use them up rather than binning them and making a whole fresh meal! Leftover chicken from a roast dinner, can be used in a soup, curry or simple sandwiches for the kids. This might not seem like you’re making much impact, but reusing leftovers just twice a week can create at least 2 whole meals that would otherwise have to be bought, prepared and possibly create leftovers of their own!
Check Date Labels
A simple step you can take is to check the best before labels on your food regularly. If you know that those sausages are going out of date soon, you can use them up before you have to throw them out!
Meal planning is a great way to not only limit your trips to the supermarket, but make sure you only buy what you need. Planning a week’s worth of meals at a time allows you to incorporate leftovers and use up spare ingredients you know you already have at home. Not only will you save money, time and stress, you’ll also reduce your impact on the environment.
Freeze More Meals
Batch cooking has become somewhat of a craze lately, with people cooking in large quantities to reduce the time spent in the kitchen and the cost of individually prepared meals.
Cook More Creatively
Finally, if you’re feeling time-rich; do some research on new recipes using the ingredients you already have. You might not think you have enough for a meal for your family, but by learning a new recipe, combining an unusual ingredient, or bulking up food with alternatives, you might find that you have more than you need for an exciting new meal – again saving a trip to the shops and helping to reduce your food waste!
Recycling Cooking Oil and Food Waste
Recycling food waste might not be as obvious as recycling your plastic or cardboard, but it is easily done and will contribute to reducing the strain felt by the food production industry and the impact it has on the environment.
Here at cater Oils we offer a waste oil recycling service to businesses across the UK. By collecting used oil, and processing it ready to reuse as a biofuel, we are helping to limit food waste and contribute towards the production of renewable energy sources.
If you operate a catering or food production business and you want to find out how we can help you lower your food waste by recycling your cooking oils, simply get in touch today. Our Oil collection services are completely free, so you can do your bit for the environment without it costing you a penny!