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Even though we know we shouldn’t do it, we’re all guilty of throwing a bit of extra food in the bin.
But whether it’s those leftovers from the dinner plate or the bag of lettuce that’s turned a bit brown, all of those small items add up. In fact – in Ireland there are over one million tonnes of food waste disposed of each year.
Some stats about food waste in Ireland
Around one third of this comes from households. Over 300,000 tonnes of food going to waste each year in our homes.
This means that each person is throwing out about 80kg of food waste each year, which costs Irish householders €700 each year.
In general, there are 3 types of food waste thrown out:
• 60% is avoidable food waste, e.g. plate scrapings, leftovers, gone off fruit and veg.
• 20% is potentially avoidable food waste, things like bread crusts, potato skins, etc. Habit causing waste
• 20% is unavoidable food waste and includes things like chicken bones, banana skins, peelings, etc.
What we throw out most:
Salad is the most thrown out type of food, with approximately 50% of our salad going to waste. Almost 25% of fruit and veg is thrown away and 20% of bread and bakery items go to waste. Potatoes are the most wasted vegetable and bananas and apples are the most wasted fruits.
Despite often being the most expensive items on our shipping list, around 10% of meat and fish products get dumped.
Tips to reduce food waste
1. Stocktake – avoid overbuying or letting things go out of date by knowing what’s in your cupboard
2. Plan meals in advance. Make a list. Stick to it.
3. Don’t shop with kids, and if this isn’t possible, set the ground rules before you get into the shop.
4. Don’t shop hungry.
5. Be smart special offers – don’t buy things you don’t need/will go out of date.
6. Use loyalty scheme coupons
7. Try own brands.
8. Cook in bulk, take for lunches or freeze
9. Have a meat free day
10. Whole fish work out much cheaper than fillets – ask the fishmonger to remove the head if you’re squeamish.
11. Buy discounted food near its sell by date and freeze or cook immediately
12. Bulk buy when things are on special offer. This applies to dishwasher tablets, washing powder, toilet paper etc.
13. Shop the season – Buying fruit and vegetables in season usually means that you get high quality, locally produced food at a lower cost. Find out what’s in season – http://www.bestinseason.ie/
14. Check the unit price. Buying another size may represent better value overall. Vegetables, can work out more expensive when bought pre-packed than if you buy them by weight from the “loose” vegetable section.
Are you surprised by the figures about food waste in Ireland? How do you reduce food waste at home? Let us know on social media, using the hashtag #MyIrishLife
Irish Life is one of Ireland’s leading financial services companies with over 1 million customers. For over 75 years, we’ve been helping people in Ireland look after their life insurance, pension and investment needs.