24 million slices of bread are thrown out by households in Britain every day, and nearly one in five UK households admit to binning an entire loaf of bread before even opening it or slicing it, according to research conducted last year on behalf of the charity Love Food Hate Waste. Bread is one of our nation’s favourite foods, with almost half of adults eating it daily. However, it seems we are not eating anywhere near as much bread as we are buying, which is a food waste issue that needs to be addressed.
So, why do we throw our bread out? It has usually gone stale or mouldy. Today we are focusing on stale bread, and here are six suggestions of how you can use it up instead of throwing it in the bin.
1. Toast it
This is a simple solution, but one that many people don’t consider. Toast your stale bread and you’d never know it was stale in the first place. Add lashings of butter and your favourite toppings.
Food waste is a huge problem in the UK. We throw away around 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every single year, and over half of that could have been consumed – if not by ourselves, then by someone else. Not only is this extremely wasteful, it is costing the average family with kids around £60 per month, and if you’re throwing your food waste in your general waste bin, it’ll be heading straight to landfill. Food waste is terrible for the environment and our pockets.
So, how do we tackle this food waste culture? In April this year, the first community fridge was set up in the UK – in Frome, Somerset. After just three months, over 1000 food items had been shared through the use of the fridge, and therefore saved from the bin and landfill. Local restaurants and cafes have been using it too. Whilst food banks handle non-perishables, a fridge means fresh goods are able to be shared also, which covers a much broader selection of consumables, and deals with items that can’t be donated anywhere else. And unlike food banks, the contents of the fridge are accessible to anyone and everyone.
Cling film – or plastic wrap, as it is known elsewhere in the world – is a thin plastic film which clings to itself or other smooth surfaces, meaning it can handily cover food without the need for any extra devices or fasteners. Cling film can be made from a variety of plastics, however the original and most popular material is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Not only is there talk of this plastic being harmful to human health, it is also a single-use product, meaning it is ending up in landfill and in our oceans where it is causing harm to the environment and nature.
What is the threat to human health?
Plastic is made up of chemicals, and there has long been concern surrounding the leaching of these chemicals into the natural environment, and transference of them into our food and drink. This worry has led to the recent popularity of ‘BPA-free’ plastics for food and drink storage. However, the main problem with cling film occurs when it is heated up:
It is a common misbelief that home freezers are in our kitchens only to store ready meals, oven chips, ice creams and ice cubes. In fact, if you check inside the majority of British freezers, I imagine that list won’t be far wrong. However, what most people don’t realise is that the majority of foods can be frozen. Not only is this convenient, time-saving and money-saving for us, but it also means we can freeze foods before they go off, therefore dramatically cutting our chances of producing food waste.
Armed with the information below, you can now happily save money by purchasing food whilst it’s on offer (hello, buy one get five free offers!), safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a great offer, and you won’t be wasting a scrap of it.
So, let’s get started on cutting food waste. What can be frozen?
When thinking about a Zero Waste lifestyle, we often consider what we do inside our homes but we should also consider our outdoor space, and what we can do in our garden to reduce or eliminate waste too. Below we have compiled a list of tips for cultivating a Zero Waste green space you and your family can enjoy for a lifetime.
Father’s Day – just like Christmas, Birthdays, and many other annual celebrations – can be an occasion of excesses, where the issue of waste easily gets forgotten by most. But this need not be the case. This year, why not treat your Dad whilst also treating the environment, by not creating any waste? It’s a lot easier than you’d think. Take a look at our seven ideas below for inspiration. What would your Dad like most on Father’s Day? The chance to spend some quality time with his child or children is probably high on the list.
Take Dad to a festival
As Father’s Day falls in June, there will no doubt be a selection of summer festivals on in your local area. Festivals are increasingly popular, and now, aside from the classic music festival, there are festivals for food, beer, cider, wine, gin, specialist diets, film, board games, sports, and much more. There’s bound to be one your Dad would love.
Researchers based at Bradford Royal Infirmary are currently developing a wound dressing which utilises the thin, fibrous membrane found inside hen’s eggshells.
The researchers are from NIHR WoundTec HTC at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and are working in unison with a Norwegian company, Biovotecat, at the BRI site.
What are the benefits?
This groundbreaking research could be set to save the NHS millions of pounds, as wound management currently costs the NHS an eye-watering £5 billion per year. With 2.2 million wounds to tend per year, it is clear to see that the current cost of wound management is high. So, the eggshells cost less to buy than traditional wound dressings, but also the healing and anti-inflammatory properties of the eggshell membranes mean that wounds will heal faster and so treatment time will be significantly shorter too.
You may not even realise it, but the chances are your home is full of disposable items that you use (and bin) on a daily basis. These things add up quickly, and create a huge impact on landfill, when they could be avoided altogether. So, what are these items, and how can you live without them? We have done the research for you, so have a read and see what changes you could make in your household.
Also known as kitchen roll or kitchen towel, this ‘throwaway’ stuff is used in abundance in most households in the UK. According to research, households worldwide get through 6.5 million tonnes of kitchen paper annually. Whilst some will be composted or recycled, the majority will end up on landfill.
In the UK we are a nation of banana lovers – in fact, bananas are our most-loved fruit, but sadly they are also our most wasted food, as the majority of us enjoy eating our bananas before they have fully ripened. So, what do we do with all our overripe bananas? Sadly, many end up in the bin, and then in landfill. There’s no need for this to happen to any banana though; there are so many things you can do with a black spotted banana. We have collected eight ideas below for you. Don’t chuck ’em – use ’em!
You could make…
Peel your bananas and chuck them in the freezer in a reusable, freezer-safe container. Once they are frozen, remove them from the freezer and blend in a food processor to create a dessert which has an uncanny resemblance to ice cream, and isn’t overly banana-like in flavour either. Add other foods in at the blending stage to change up the flavour, such as peanut butter, cinnamon, or strawberries.
You may have heard talk of coconut oil, and wondered what all the fuss was about. After all, for many years we were told that all fats are bad. Now, it has come to light that this is not the case, and saturated fats, which were always frowned upon in the past, aren’t the artery-cloggers they were once portrayed to be. In fact, our body needs ‘good fats’, which is what coconut oil is; it is packed full of healthy fatty acids too, including Lauric Acid (which also exists in breast milk!)
So, what are the benefits of using coconut oil?
It has been discovered that coconut oil offers many health benefits for the human body, including antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. So, whilst ingesting it is good for you, so is applying it to your skin. The best part about it all? Buying one product in bulk to perform all of the tasks below means you are cutting down on your waste output significantly! Imagine how many bottles and containers you are cutting out if you just use a large jar of coconut oil for all of the below. Coconut oil is, therefore, a great choice if you’re wanting to move towards a zero waste lifestyle. Let’s take a look at how you can use it.