Save €700 per year by taking simple steps to reduce food waste

  • The average Irish family will save €700 per year by taking simple steps to reduce their food waste.
  • Vegetables, fruit and salad are the foods that are thrown out most often in the home.
  • Ireland has committed to halving food waste by 2030.
  • Scientists estimate that food waste produces up to 10 per cent of all global carbon emissions.
  • Top tips include:
  • store potatoes in a dry, dark place;
  • keep tomatoes in the open air;
  • store carrots loose in the bottom drawer of the fridge; and
  • keep strawberries in the fridge with their green tops on.

As the country prepares for an outdoor summer of picnics and barbeques, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new campaign to encourage people to reduce their food waste, highlighting simple food storage steps to make their fresh food last longer. The EPA’s website has some great resources to support their Stretch Out and Save  campaign and highlights the variety of ways in which different foods should be stored.

Findings from a 2020 EPA survey on food waste attitudes showed that around 40per cent of Irish people say they waste a lot of fruit and vegetables, and would like to make their fresh food last longer. Fresh fruit, vegetables and salads are Irish summer favourites – but also the foods we waste the most.

Properly storing fresh fruit and vegetables can help both the environment and your budget, according to Mary Frances Rochford, EPA Programme Manager:

“We are calling on everyone to support and share our Stretch Out and Save campaign on social media, and take a simple action to stop food waste. Irish households produce over 250,000 tonnes of food waste per year, at a cost of €700 per household. In addition, wasted food is a significant contributor to climate change – responsible for 8 to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting food waste reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also provides real savings householders.”

 

The EPA’s Stop Food Waste top tips to stretch out and save your food this summer include:

  1. Strawberries
  • Don’t put yourself in a jam; keep the strawberries in the fridge with the green tops intact.
  • Washing strawberries in a mixture of water and vinegar (8 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar) will also keep them fresh by killing any spores on the fruit.
  1. Tomatoes
  • Don’t see red when your tomatoes start to have mould spots; Store tomatoes in the open air to keep flavour and texture for longer.
  • Did you know? Tomatoes are actually a fruit not a vegetable.
  1. Potatoes 
  • An app-peeling staple in so many households, some people make the mistake of leaving the bag of potatoes out in the light. In fact, potatoes last longer when stored in a cool, dark and dry place.
  • But don’t store them next to onions; the excess moisture in onions can result in potatoes sprouting faster.
  1. Carrots
  • Keep carrots loose in the bottom drawer of the fridge to keep crisp. The most famous vegetable for improving your vision, ensure that you can see the carrots by removing them from plastic packaging. This avoids the ‘sweating’ that leads to mould formation.
  • If your carrots come with the leaves intact, cut these off before storing. The leaves draw moisture out of the roots causing your carrots to become bendy much faster.

 

Environmental scientist with the EPA Odile Le Bolloch explains:

“Summer is a time for enjoying lots of fresh produce and salads, but these are also the foods that we waste the most. With a few simple tips we can keep the food we buy that bit fresher for that bit longer. The Stop Food Waste A-Z of Foods is a useful online resource on how to best manage common foods at home to prevent food waste.”

As no two foods are the same, different produce will often have different storage requirements. Re-learning habits and implementing them as we put our shopping away will help to get the most out of groceries.

Find out how to store all of your favourite foods, learn about food date marking, and access resources to help reduce food waste in the home by visiting the EPA website.

Stop Food Waste

Stop Food Waste is Ireland’s national food waste prevention programme. It provides simple tips to help householders manage food in the home and reduce waste through social media across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The user-friendly website provides great tools and information to help with making the most of food. The EPA is calling on householders to follow the ‘Stretch Out and Save’ campaign on social media and to take actions to stop food waste, and share their own top tips for keeping food fresher for longer.

Website: http://www.epa.ie/ and http://stopfoodwaste.ie

Facebook: @StopFoodWaste

Instagram: @stopfoodwaste.ie and @epaIreland

Twitter: @Stop_Food_Waste and @EPAIreland

Survey

Results presented are from an online survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults ages 16+ on attitudes towards food waste and food management behaviours at home. The survey was carried out between 4th and 14th September 2020 by Behaviour & Attitudes Limited, Ireland’s largest independent market research company. Topics covered included concerns about food waste, managing food at home, impact of Covid lockdown restrictions and food dates.

 

The EPA compiles national data on waste generation and treatment in Ireland through direct survey of industry and waste facilities, and in cooperation with other public authorities. Current estimates indicate that Ireland generated approximately 1.05 million tonnes of food waste in 2018. About half of this came from the processing and manufacturing sector, with the remainder arising from households (252,500 tonnes per year) and the commercial sector including restaurants/food service and retail/distribution (203,300 tonnes per year). National statistics for individual waste streams are on the EPA website.

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