Zero Waste Week - Tips, Tricks and Recipes!

This week is ZERO WASTE WEEK!

The idea of this week is to get us all thinking about how we can do our own bit individually to reduce the amount we waste (of anything and everything). Here at Sochal, we are focusing specifically on food waste, but the wider message includes far more than just food; water, electricity, clothing and so on.

Food waste is a massive problem in the UK. We waste over 7 million tonnes of food a year - that equates to a staggering £13million worth of edible food just chucked away. Reducing this would not only save us all money, but reduce landfill (think of all that unnecessary packaging) and reduce the amount of vehicles on the road needed to transport all that food... this reducing our carbon footprint. So, plenty of reasons to all start thinking about some small changes we can make in our own lives!

As I see it, there are 4 ways we can all do more:

  • Planning our shopping. Taking a bit of time to really plan meals for the week (however boring this sounds!) will not only save you money, but it takes a lot of stress out of the week - think last minute "what on earth am I going to cook?!" moments. It will also ensure that you buy only what you need for the week and stand a better chance of using it. You can plan meals so that they work well together, i.e. if you use half a bag of spinach for one recipe and find another recipe that will use up the other half of the bag. 
  • Portions - getting portions right not only helps us to reach and maintain a healthy weight but also helps us to reduce food waste. Taking time to properly portion out food such as rice and pasta and cooking only what we want to eat is something that we can all look at.
  • Get creative! It is inevitable that we will be left with some leftovers and some food in the fridge that ends up needing eating before it goes past its best. When this happens we need a good dose of creativity and flexibility. Throw the rulebook out of the window as far as recipes are concerned and just use what you have. Think of some recipes such as risottos, soups, frittatas, roasted veg trays, open vegetable/meat tarts etc that really can be ways of using up anything in the fridge:

  1. Soups - fry an onion and some garlic until soft add in some veg, a good litre of stock and some red lentils. Bubble away and blitz up and you will have a cheap, delicious and filling lunch. I would chuck in tomatoes, root veg, mushrooms, leeks, lettuce(!)...pretty much anything lying around can be transformed into a delicious, thick, creamy soup. 
  2. Frittatas - chop up some onions and any veggies and herbs that happen to be lying around. Fry to soften, then pour in some beaten eggs and cook until set (grill the top with a little cheese to set it and add some crunch). Eat hot or cold in slices with a salad.
  3. Roasting trays of veg is a great way of using up odds and ends in the fridge. Chop to similar slices. drizzle with some olive oil and seasoning and roast in the oven on a medium heat for 20-40 minutes until golden.
  4. Crumbles are a brilliant way of using up fruit that's past its best. I like to lightly cook fruit if it is hard, such as apples, pears, rhubarb...but berries and bananas are fine just to throw straight into the oven dish. Sprinkle with some simple crumble mixture and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm with natural yoghurt. Yum!

  • Utilise your freezer! Freezers are a fab tool to use to avoid waste. If you always end up with soggy bags of herbs after using one fifth of the corriander for example, then freeze them! This way they retain flavour and won't go off. Also, bread - as soon as you buy a loaf, freeze one half. It takes no time to defrost and will avoid the last few slices always going mouldy! Same goes for citrus fruits and cucumber - chop and freeze to use in drinks. 

So let's all try to make one simple change this week, whether it is planning or getting creative! Let us know how you get on as we all try to do our bit to achieve ZERO FOOD WASTE! 


(Post by Faith Toogood.)