WHY should we recycle our food waste? Surely it biodegrades anyway, so it doesn’t matter if we put leftovers in our food caddy, does it? Well yes, it really does matter. When sent to landfill, food waste doesn’t harmlessly break down. As it rots, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas which is more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term and very harmful to the environment. In fact, it is estimated that if everyone in Scotland with access to a food caddy in their home recycled just their tea bags, it would be the equivalent of removing 13,349 cars from the road every year.
This week is Recycle Week and Zero Waste Scotland is raising awareness of the potential energy that can be captured by simply placing peelings, eggshells, tea bags and any uneaten produce in household food recycling caddies. Online personality Laura Young, otherwise known as “Less Waste Laura”, has recently produced a series on her website, tackling all things food from seed to plate. She said: “When it comes to food waste in our homes, there are two things we can do to help – number one is to reduce the amount of food waste we produce in the first place and second is to correctly recycle our food waste.
“Uneaten food can be recycled in your food waste caddy and from there it can be converted into sustainable energy that can be fed back to the national grid, as well as recycled soil improver and fertiliser. “Everyday food waste including uneaten food and plate scrapings and mouldy or out of date food (including ready meals removed from their packaging) can all be recycled. “There are several other items that can go in your food waste caddy, including tea bags and coffee grounds, peelings, bread, dairy products (including eggshells) and meat and fish bones.”
Here are some top tips to help you reduce your food waste... 1. Organise your fridge Have a dedicated space in your fridge which is known as the “must eat now” space. Fill it with foods which are going out of date soon, or leftovers from a meal which will only last a few days. This stops food “hiding’ in the
back and going out of date. 2. A cuppa counts Tea bags and coffee grounds can all be recycled in your food waste bin. Keep a tub by your kettle to make it easier to remember. Empty your food waste caddy SALLY McLEAN on a regular basis and only fill your liners three-quarters full to avoid any unwanted spills. Keep it clean by swishing it round with water after you’ve finished the dishes. Buying loose fruit and veg not only saves single-use packaging but also saves buying food in multiples when you might only need one for a recipe. There are some great food waste recipes for things like bread (croutons, bread and butter pudding, breadcrumbs) or experiment with “one pan” dishes, paella or stir fries full of bits and bobs left over from the fridge. It’s less likely that you’ll get drawn into impulse buys when you know what you are looking for. Planning what you and your family are going to eat that week, and taking a list to the supermarket, helps avoid unnecessary purchases that’ll go uneaten.