Love Food Save Money – Newry & Mourne Council’s tips to reducing food waste

Declan McAteer Posted by
Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Seamus and Ruth Colgan of the Newry and Mourne District Council

Every year 7.2 million tonnes of food is thrown away from our homes. This costs the average family around £50 a month or £680 a year. Wasting food also means that we waste the energy, water and packaging involved in producing, transporting and storing the food. It also means that food sent to landfill contributes, to climate change.

Newry and Mourne District Council’s Recycling Officers are providing 10 simple steps to help reduce food going to landfill and save residents up to £50 a month.

1. Write a list

Don’t wait until you’re in the shops, plan your meals for the week and check the ingredients in your fridge and cupboards. Then write a shopping list for the extras you need.

2. Stick to the list.

Take your list with you and stick to it when you’re in the shop. Don’t be tempted by offers and don’t shop when you’re hungry – you’ll come back with more than you need.

3. Don’t throw it away.

Fruit that is just going soft can be made into smoothies or a warm fruit crumble for your Sunday dessert. Vegetables that are starting to wilt can be made into soup.

4. Use up your leftovers.

Instead of scraping leftovers into the bin, why not use them for tomorrow’s ingredients? A bit of leftover tuna could be added to pasta and made into a pasta bake.

5. Storage.

Check that the seals on your fridge are good and check the fridge temperature too. Food needs to be stored between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius for maximum freshness and longevity.

6. Rotate.

When unpacking your shopping, bring all the older items in your cupboards and fridge to the front. Put the new food towards the back to stop you finding something mouldy at the back of your cupboards.

7. Serve small amounts.

Are you getting your portions right? Use the portion planner on the Love Food Hate Waste website to check and find a handy way to measure just the right amount. For example, a mug full of rice will serve 4 adults. Any leftovers can be cooled, stored in the fridge and used another day.

8. Only buy what you need.

Buy loose fruits and vegetables instead of pre-packed to allow you to chose the exact amount you need. Choose meats and cheese from a deli so that you can buy what you want.

9. Freeze

The freezer should be every food lover’s best friend! It helps to preserve food and keep tasty meals to hand, which can save you time and money and help to reduce food waste. There are plenty of things that you can keep in your freezer, for example, hard cheese – grate before freezing and then use from frozen, on pasta bakes and cheese on toast. Also, a sliced loaf can be frozen and can go straight into the toaster when you want a slice of toast.

10. Compost it.

Some food waste is unavoidable, so why not set up a compost bin for fruit and vegetable peelings? In a few months you will end up with rich, valuable compost for your plants.

By following these simple steps, you can save money and reduce the food waste produced from your household. For those households who would like to compost their food waste, they can take advantage of the council’s offer of compost bins (340 litres) at the reduced rate of £20.

Kitchen caddies are also available free from the Council. The caddies can be kept in the house as waste builds up, instead of having to go outside to the brown/compost bin with every scrape of food waste. The caddies make it more convenient and easier to recycle food waste.

The kitchen caddies and compost bins are available for a limited time at Newry and Mourne District Council’s Greenbank Offices.

For more detailed information about food waste and how you can reduce it, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website at or contact Ruth Colgan on tel: 02830313233 or email

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