Choose ‘what you’ll use’ to save money and the planet

Ahead of Food Waste Action Week (18 to 24 March) Hampshire County Council is calling on residents to become savvy food shoppers – helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also saving money

Mar 18 2024

Loose fruit and vegetables in a grocers shop avoiding prepackaging

Choosing only what will be used when buying fresh fruit and vegetables in the weekly shop and opting for loose produce in place of pre-packed items, food and drink waste can be reduced – waste that in the UK accounted for approximately 18 million tonnes of CO2 being emitted needlessly in 2021/22. Not only that, the cost to the householders who purchased this wasted food totalled £17 billion.

Councillor Nick Adams-King, the County Council’s Cabinet Lead for Universal Services, said: “Sometimes simple things offer the greatest gains, and selecting the exact size and number of loose fruit and veg in the weekly food shop is one of them. Whether buying from the supermarket, greengrocer or local farm shop, only buying what you need is a win-win. 

“It can be hard to believe that wasted food, both cooked and uncooked, has such a significant impact on carbon emissions – putting food in the bin means that all the water and energy from growing, packaging and transporting the food is also wasted. This has a substantial effect on our environment. The good news is that this is one area where we can all do our bit and see the benefits both in our wallets and in contributing to Hampshire’s net zero carbon target by 2050.

“Other ongoing work by the County Council’s education catering service, as part of the national Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign, has been encouraging schools and families to eat more UK grown vegetables and to reduce their food waste, and I’m delighted to hear that nearly half of those families who took part in Hampshire said their children are wasting fewer vegetables as a result.”

A household of four spends, on average, £83 a month on fresh food bought but not eaten – and picking up pre-packed items that contain more than a household needs during a week is one of the key actions driving this food waste. Items such as potatoes, carrots and apples are among the top 15 wasted food types in the UK – even though apples can last for over two months if stored in the fridge.

Shockingly, 25% of wasted food from households in the UK is a result of cooking, preparing or serving too much. This Food Waste Action Week is a chance to learn more about how to buy, store, serve and reuse leftovers – saving time, money and the planet.

Hampshire County Council supports and enables residents to save money, and reduce their carbon footprint, by making the most of their food through its Smart Living initiative.

Top Smart Living tips for avoiding food waste:

  • Check the fridge and cupboards to see what you’ve already got and what’s coming up to its ‘Use By’ date
  • Menu plan for the week, make a shopping list and use a portion guide
  • Choose what you’ll use – buy loose fruit and vegetables at the supermarket, grocery store or farm shop
  • Store fruit and vegetables in the fridge – except bananas and whole pineapples – to keep them fresher for longer
  • Check the fridge temperature – it should be below 5℃
  • Search online to find recipes to make the most of leftovers
  • Sign up to Hampshire Kitchen Heroes to take action on reducing household food waste

Statistics from: Action on food waste | WRAP Food Waste Action Week 2024