Nothing is put in the trash, everything is cooked

Posted on 11 February 2016.

There’s no shortage of ideas for fighting food waste; Living Circular has five suggestions for you.

According to an FAO study, "One third of food production [...], about 1.3 billion metric tonnes per year, is lost or wasted". In Europe and North America, we throw 95-115 kg of food out per year and per person. This huge amount of waste also wastes the resources used to produce it, such as water and energy, as well as generating unnecessary CO2 emissions and significant amounts of waste. Producers, restaurateurs and consumers - we are all responsible for wasting food. Which means we can all do something about it...

Organizing your fridge

Organizing your fridge means you will keep the food you have better. It’s important to put things in the right temperature zones. Perishable foods, such as dairy products, eggs and meat, go on the top shelves where it's coldest. Fruit and vegetables go in the lower compartments - but separately because some fruit stimulates ripening. Follow the "first in, first out" rule by putting leftovers and food with the shortest use-by dates in the front. Remove the cardboard and plastic packaging from products and place them in sealed boxes or plastic wrap. Finally, freeze anything you don’t think you’ll be eating soon – like a chicken you bought at the weekend to eat later in the week, for example.

Find out about:
- The fridge game

Buying ugly fruits and veg

40% of the food produced in the world is never eaten. Too small or too big, too bent or too damaged, "uncalibrated" food is doomed to be excluded from sale – oddly shaped fruit and vegetables are discarded when they are harvested. But you may have recently noticed some supermarkets are selling "ugly" fruit and vegetables. In France, for example, you can opt for imperfect fruit packs known as “les gueules cassées” (ugly mugs) ; they have small imperfections, but are still perfectly good to eat, and are sold (much) more cheaply. The group behind the label, which was set up "to raise awareness all around the world of this perfectly good food, and to save it from being senselessly wasted," is preparing to market its products abroad. Soon, you will also be able to buy biscuits, cheese, sausages and cereals that are victims of their imperfections.

Find out about:
- Ugly food made beautiful

Cooking with leftovers and peelings

It’s really easy to use leftovers! Turn stale bread into delicious toast, overripe fruit into sauces and jams, damaged vegetables make soups, and that cooked meat that has been sleeping quietly in the fridge can be turned into a gratin... The internet is full of good ideas and recipes for recycling leftovers. Cooking workshops are even being organized all over the place. And it works with peelings too. Skin, vines, stems... nothing is thrown out, everything is cooked! For example you can prepare chips or tempura vegetables using skins, add them to your broths, or use the tops of turnips, radishes, celery, etc. to concoct gazpacho or pies. And you'll save money too!

Find out about:
- 26 recipes for Christmas leftovers
- Waste not want not: the art of trash cooking
- Wastecooking

Sharing your fridge

Giving away your leftovers rather than putting them in the trash is the principle behind food sharing, a gift economy concept that fights waste and hunger. In Berlin, Lebensmittelretten ("food rescuers" in English) launched an "open fridge" campaign. Every day, hundreds of volunteers collect the remains or unsold supplies from supermarkets, shops and restaurants and then make them freely available in fridges placed around the German capital. Anyone can deposit or retrieve food round the clock, 7 days a week. The idea has spread all over Germany - and to other countries like Spain. Lebensmittelretten also started the Foodsharing site, which allows you and me, merchants, restaurateurs and producers to give their food surpluses away. In the US, the LeftoverSwap app helps users to exchange their leftovers. On the French website, Mummyz, you can sell any extra portions of cooked food you have… Pretty much all over the world, leftover food collections are being organized - there are lots of initiatives and you can join them now!

Find out about:
- Food sharing
- Free lunch, anyone? Foodsharing sites and apps stop leftovers going to waste

Asking for a doggy bag

A doggy bag is the packaging customers eating in restaurants use to take home the remains of their meal. A widespread practice in English speaking countries, and especially in the United States, it is more marginal in Europe. Faced with the huge waste of food in traditional restaurants, countries such as France and Italy are trying to promote the use of doggy bags. However, although most consumers are in favor, few dare ask for one. To overcome prejudices, several start-ups, associations and communities offer restaurateurs and guests stylish food packaging. So don’t hesitate, ask for your doggy bag, everyone will be a winner!

Find out about:
- Sacré bleu! French restaurateurs asked to hand out doggy bags
- Italy: Doggy bag push to prevent food waste
- Too good to waste