Food waste

Food waste reduction

There are lots of simple steps you can take to reduce your food waste.


Top tips to reduce food waste

The good news is, keeping your bin happy is really easy. Simply keep food waste out of your wheelie bin and put it in the brown caddy be recycled instead (remember to remove any packaging first).

Food waste collected in the brown caddy is a useful resource that is turned into compost and energy, helping to power 6,500 homes in Avonmouth!

Almost 25% of the contents of an average wheelie bin in Bristol is made up of food waste, three-quarters of which could be avoided with proper planning, preparation, and storage.

Did you know that avoidable food waste is costing Bristol families an average of £730 a year?

Now is the time to think smart around food to reduce and recycle as much as possible – it’s good for your purse, your family and the planet!

Does your wheelie bin have 'bin-digestion'?

Any food in the black bin can cause bin-digestion, but five of the worst and most avoidable culprits are:

  • Stale bread/crusts
  • Meat past its use-by-date
  • Gone off, pre-packaged salad
  • Excess cooked rice or pasta
  • Takeaway leftovers

For more information, check out our stop bin-digestion campaign.

Try the hints and tips below to help you buy, store, cook and dispose of your food with as little waste as possible.

Easy ways to avoid food waste

Buying food

  • Buy only what you need and avoid 2-for-1 offers that you won’t use.
  • Plan meals in advance and create a shopping list – stick to this when you are shopping to avoid impulse buys.
  • When planning meals in advance, leave a couple of meals ‘free’. This will allow for changes of plans, which are a big cause of wasted food.
  • When you get to a ‘free’ meal why not check your freezer – it’s a good chance to eat up some leftovers.
  • Before you go food shopping check what you already have – plan meals to use up ingredients before they go off and make sure you aren’t buying more of an item than you need.

Storing food

  • Find out the best way to store food items to prolong their life with this handy A-Z guide.
  • Get to know the date labels. This guide to the date labels on your food should help.
  • Make use of your freezer – many foods can be frozen to prolong their life. You can also freeze leftovers to prevent them going to waste.
  • Bread can be frozen (before it goes mouldy!) then used for toast.

Cooking food

  • Check use-by dates and plan your meals to make sure everything is used before it spoils.
  • The best way to prevent leftovers is to make sure you cook the right amount. Use a portion planner to check the amount you need of ingredients like rice and pasta – if you guess it, there’s almost always too much!
  • Use up leftovers or work out meals to cook with random ingredients you have at the back of the fridge/cupboard with the Love Food Hate Waste and Big Oven recipe finders.
  • Cook up fresh ingredients before they go off and freeze to eat another time.
  • Meat nearing its use-by date can be cooked and kept for a bit longer.

Disposing of food

    • Put food waste in your brown food caddy to recycle it rather than putting it in your black bin.
      Remove the cardboard wrap from items such as yoghurt and noodle pots and sort the packaging into the correct bin, box or bag.
    • If you have out of date pre-prepared food, empty the food into your food caddy and wash the container to be used again or placed in the recycling.
    • Keep a record of spoiled food. You might discover you throw away some foods more than others. Next time you do a food shop, buy less of these items.

Now you have a happy bin, visit the Happy Kitchen page to find out what else you can do at home to make your food last longer and reduce waste.