Us Kiwis love our patch of the planet, so we do what we can to take care of it. But it turns out, we could be doing a lot more when it comes to reducing our food waste.
The average New Zealand household dumps 79 kilograms of food into landfill every year. This organic waste sits under piles of rubbish preventing oxygen from decomposing it easily. When our food breaks down in this way it emits harmful greenhouse gases, and this has a massive effect on our atmosphere.
The good news? New Zealanders want to change their wasteful ways, and every small change makes a difference.
Take a look at these 5 tips and see what you can do to help:
1. Plan before you buy
Plan your meals, make a list, and then buy only what you need! Being that little bit more organised saves time when it comes to the dreaded dinner decisions, and buying little but often usually results in less waste for your wallet, and your bin.
2. Store your food properly
Your fridge is a great place to start storing most food, it’ll keep food fresher for longer. But know what likes to be kept where. Bananas, potatoes and onions shouldn’t be kept in the fridge. Any opened packaged product should be put into an airtight container. And you can freeze pretty much anything!
3. Be clever in the kitchen
Get into the habit of rotating your produce so you know what needs using first. If you notice your carrots are looking a little limp, find a way to incorporate them into your next meal. If not, chop, date and freeze them - frozen fruits and vegetables are great in soups or smoothies.
4. Love your left overs
Let the 2-2-2 rule guide you. Refrigerate within 2 hours. Eat within 2 days. Date and freeze them to last at least 2 months. If you’re really not a fan of leftovers, understand your portion sizes and cook only what you’ll eat.
5. Know what you’re ditching
Make a conscious note of what you’re throwing away. If you notice a trend, consider taking that item off your next grocery list. However, unavoidable food waste happens, so find a better place to put this waste. Donate it to someone, give it to animals or put it in a compost bin.
Since 2013 Z have been looking at ways to minimise their food waste, and it’s an ongoing mission to constantly improve. Across the country Z sites have put a number of food waste initiatives in to action; using commercial compost collections, donating food waste to local pig farmers and continually monitoring what food goes to waste and where they can cut back.