Monday, November 05, 2007

Leftovers anyone?

(Photo provided by

Last week I bought some lovely fresh apples from a local farm shop, drove home and put them aside while I made some pumpkin soup. You can imagine my shock and horror when I saw that while I was busy in the kitchen, my 3yr old had been busy in the dining room, cutting all the apples in half and they had already begun to go brown. It wasn't a problem, as I quickly cut them up and stewed them as an accompaniment to a rice pudding that I'd been preparing for that evening's dinner.

I am quite proud that this introduction is giving the image that I am a domestic goddess. However, the true reality is that I just don't like waste. I hate throwing anything away, especially food. That evening, I was already trying to put to good use the expensive pumpkin that I'd carved for Halloween as well as use up some surplus milk that would have otherwise gone off.

21st C Dad arrived home to a scene of (almost) domestic bliss, smiled approvingly and said "WRAP would be proud of you". He then went on to tell me about the organisation which encourages companies and individuals to make more efficient use of materials, and how it has launched a significant campaign to reduce food waste.

Recent research conducted by WRAP revealed that one third of food that we buy in the UK is thrown in the bin. In effect, for every three bags of shopping, one bag of food goes to waste. In the UK, this equates to about £8billion of wasted food per year.

As a result WRAP has launched its ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign to raise awareness of the issue with consumers and provide information on what simple steps can be taken to combat the problem, which has a major environmental impact.

As discovered by WRAP, the key problem is that most of the food that is thrown away ends up in landfill where it produces methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. Added to this is the wasted energy used to produce, package, transport and deliver the food to our homes which produces the equivalent of at least 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. If we only bought what we used, the impact could be significant.

This is something that I feel strongly about, but despite having a compost bin for obvious things like moldy fruit and vegetable peelings and trying to use recipes that can be adapted, I still find it a struggle to turn leftovers into something that is edible a second time around. I find that shopping every few days helps to reduce waste but even with these best intentions I still find myself throwing gone-off food in the bin.

So if you are like me, you will will welcome WRAP's new campaign website which gives great advice and ideas on preparing and storing food. I really love the meal planning area as well as the recipe section which allows you to search for recipes that feature the ingredients you need to use up and advises how to adapt leftovers into another tasty meal.

WRAP is encouraging retailers, local authorities and community groups to spread the word. So if you know anyone who might be interested, it might be useful to alert them to the news that they can register at:

Also, if you are interested in the key findings of the research, further details can be found at:

So...what am I cooking tonight? It just so happens to be a bolognese sauce, which can be turned into tomorrow's chili con carne. However as the Love Food Hate Waste site suggests, it could also be used for a delicious shepherd's pie.


picklesmum said...

I like the idea of WRAP's lovefoodhatewaste section, but I NEVER have any roast potatoes going spare after a Sunday dinner! Some good ideas though.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hee hee Picklesmum - I know what you mean ;-D

picklesmum said...

Picklesdad is as bad, he expects me to have a permanent supply of 'old' sheets, blankets and net curtains for various jobs around the house. In the 15 years we've lived together we've never had a blanket on our bed, so I don't know where he thinks I'm getting these 'old' blankets from!!