Use your fridge and freezer
About £2.1bn-worth of fresh fruit and vegetables is thrown away in UK homes each year because it has gone soft, mouldy or is out of date.
How fresh produce is stored is key to its fate, and if you stow it in your fridge you will buy yourself more time. Apples, for example, can last for more than 100 days, much longer than in a fruit bowl.
“In my house the only things that are in the fruit bowl are bananas,” says Helen White, a special adviser for household food waste at the sustainability charity Wrap.
But before you start rejigging your fridge, check how cold it is. The average UK fridge is running at 6.6C when it should be below 5C. If you don’t know how to adjust the temperature, the Love Food Hate Waste website has a guide. It also has a handy A-Z of food storage.
Using the freezer “hits the pause button” on food going off says White, before Food Waste Action Week, which starts on Monday.
Apples can last for longer in a fridge. Photograph: Barrie Harwood/Alamy
However, it is important that meat and poultry are defrosted properly before use, she says.
This means getting it out of the freezer and putting it in the fridge the day before, or using your microwave’s defrost setting.
The freezer is a useful tool for single-person households, who waste proportionally more than bigger ones, often because it is harder to buy the right quantities.
White says you should freeze food in portions that “make sense for your household”.
Buy loose fruit and veg
This should get easier because Wrap – which helps shape government policy on sustainability – is advising supermarkets to sell fruit and veg loose.
A study it carried out found plastic wrappers didn’t make food last longer and forced people to buy more than they needed.
You can increasingly find options in big supermarkets and although shopping takes longer, buying this way will help cut both food and plastic waste in your household.
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