The food you throw out each week is more of a problem than you might think. Not only are you wasting money, you are sending that food into landfill sites, where it rots and produces methane – one of the major gasses contributing to climate change. Here’s how to get your food waste levels down so that you can protect both your wallet and our planet.

Don’t bulk-buy items
This is a trap many shoppers fall into. While that ‘buy one get one free’ offer may be tempting, think about how much food you will realistically get through in a week. Buying in bulk may be a more convenient shopping practice, but it can lead to food wastage if the additional items stay in the cupboard until they need to be thrown away. To prevent over-buying items, make a strict list of exactly what you need for the week. Examine what is in your cupboards and try to use items that are already in them before they go out of date. This will also make your money go further.

Know how to store food
If you are not storing food correctly (especially fruits and vegetables), you are more likely to throw out food waste due to these items over-ripening and turning rotten more quickly. Use storage containers or purchase clips that you can use on bags to keep them sealed so that the food inside stays fresher for longer. Store potatoes, onions, garlic and other root vegetables like carrots in a dark place at room temperature. Also avoid placing fruits that produce ethylene gas next to each other in a fruit bowl (such as peaches and bananas). Store them separately to slow down the ripening process and to prevent them from going bad.

Embrace your freezer
Freezing food is a great way to prevent wastage. You can freeze bread, milk, butter, vegetables, fish and meat for a later date. You can then defrost them ahead of time when you need them. Food that is frozen can also be used to make smoothies, juices or stocks. This will also be easier on your purse strings.

Opt for ‘imperfect produce’
Generally speaking, food shoppers are very picky, and prefer to go for the most perfect-looking produce they can put in their shopping baskets. Retailers therefore feel great pressure to stock produce without any imperfections, as consumers generally overlook any fruits or vegetables that look slightly wonky or misshapen. This leads to increased food waste, because these products are not purchased. Some retailers are now tackling this by offering imperfect produce at cheaper prices. There really isn’t any difference, so next time you’re shopping for fresh produce, keep an open mind and go for the wonky version to help the planet.

Organise your fridge and cupboards
Closely monitor what is going in and out of your fridge. Keep an eye on items that have wandered towards the back of your appliance, noting their use-by dates. If you have leftovers in your fridge, put them in glass containers so that you can clearly see the food inside. Label when foods were purchased so you know when to use them by. Stock newer packs of food beneath others that are older so that you prioritise the older packs first.