How to have a week less wasted

Read these crowdfunded tips to use up food waste and leftovers and join FoodCycle’s August campaign to cut out waste for a week.

What ends up unused and at the back of the fridge or in your veg caddy may not seem important in the grand scheme of things, but did you know that it is a huge part of our carbon footprint? According to food redistribution charity FoodCycle, if food waste were a country it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

In UK households alone we waste seven million tonnes of food every year. Reducing food waste helps combat climate change, so it’s a simple way we can all play a small part in making a big difference.

This August, FoodCycle is encouraging everyone to get involved with A Week Less Wasted – a nationwide challenge to cut out all food waste for a week. If you struggle with where to start, there are lots of online resources to help with ‘compleating’ (eating the whole ingredient or food), like easy recipes that will use up otherwise unloved parts of your veg or stale bread.

Carrot top pesto is a great way to use up the tops of the bunch.

We crowdfunded the best food waste tips from the foodies over at the Riverford Tribe Facebook group in the hope we can all join in the campaign. Comment below if you have any to add!

  • Holly Strouther encourages keeping things simple – “Plan the week’s menus and buy just the right amount! Less impulse buying, less cost and less waste.”
  • Jeong Myunghee shares her recipe for making health boosting vegan kimchi, adding: “Pointed cabbage kimchi, spring green kimchi and kohlrabi kimchi were fantastic. Last week I made beetroot water kimchi. I drink that juice, it is lovely. These all contain probiotics as well as lots of nutrition.”
  • Lindsey Martin says: “Soup is the ultimate option to use up leftovers. No need to worry about quantities – just pop the smallest or largest bits and bobs in, together with some stock (homemade or a cube is fine and if you’ve got a lurking dollop of ketchup, tinned tomato, salsa, gravy, rice, pasta, chutney, or pasta sauce, that can go in, too!). Season with herbs or spices and you’ve soon got a tasty lunch to go with cheese on toast made from that last crust and crumbly bits from the bottom of the cheese box. This finishes up anything not previously used in casseroles, curries or blended to make pasta sauce – no need to waste anything and it feels almost like a free meal because you made something out of almost nothing.”

Soups and stocks are the ultimate home for leftovers.

  • Don’t throw away veg tops from beetroot or carrots – they can be eaten in a variety of tasty dishes, such as eating beet tops in place of spinach leaves. Vicky Roberts says: “As a newbie, the advice about carrot tops for pesto I still think is amazing.” Try the recipe here and make it your own by adding extras such as chopped capers, lemon zest or fresh herbs.
  • Wendy McKeown makes great use of her freezer and slow cooker to get some real flavour into her meals and keep all the goodness from her veg. “I make stock from veg scraps and meat bones – I have a bag in the freezer that I add the scraps to and when it’s full, leave it in the slow cooker for 24 hrs on low. Makes the best stock ever and every batch is different.” Try this basic stock recipe to get you started.
  • Ash R Taylor loves using ‘past their best’ veg and fruit in baking: “Bananas for banana bread, courgettes for lemon and poppyseed cake, strawberries and apricots for jam…”

So, love your leftovers, get creative, share your own ideas too and join in this quiet food revolution.


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