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The most commonly wasted foods in British households (and how to rescue them)

Today marks the final day of ‘Zero Waste Week 2017’ in the UK. Taking place from September 4-8, Zero Waste Week is a grassroots campaign aimed at raising awareness of the environmental impact of waste and empowering participants to help reduce the amount going to landfill.

This year’s theme is ‘Rethink your Waste’, with Friday's focus on reducing your food waste! Did you know, if food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after USA and China [1]? At UKHarvest we do our best to help reduce this, however we as individuals also have a responsibility to minimise food waste. Looking after our planet can be as simple as making a few small changes at home. 

So, in honour of today's theme, we have compiled a list of the most commonly wasted foods in British homes with some tips on how you can save them from ending up in the bin. 


Daily waste in British households: 5.8 million whole potatoes 

Our top tips: Store this veggie favourite in a cool, dark place to help them last longer. If your potatoes start to sprout, just cut off the sprouting bits, they are still great to eat. Become friends with your freezer. Cook them up, portion them in sandwich bags and freeze them to use in a meal later. And finally, don't forget to love the skin your potatoes are in - they can make a tasty alternative to crisps or a delicious stock and are packed full of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals! 

Try this recipe:


Daily waste in British households: 24 million slices of bread

Our top tips: Bread doesn't have a long shelf life. If you find yourself with a stale loaf, why not make your own breadcrumbs? Or once again using your freezer is a great way to make your bread last longer. Simply slice it, wrap it well and defrost as needed. It can stay in your freezer for up to three months. 

Try this recipe:


Daily waste in British households: 5.8 million glasses of milk

Our top tips: Firstly remember to trust your senses (smell it!) and don't always rely solely on milk 'use by' labels. Milk freezes well, so if you're heading away, freeze the remainder in your ice tray and add cubes to your next brew. Or of course blend it with some leftover fruit for a delicious smoothie. 

Try these recipes:


Daily waste in British households: 1.4 million edible bananas

Our top tips: Firstly, separate them from each other for storage. As they start to turn speckled and guessed it FREEZE them! If they turn completely black, even better, as this is ideal for making banana bread or muffins. 

Try these recipes:


Annual waste in British households: 178 million bags of salad

Our top tips: Storage is important to get the most out of your food. Keep salad in a crisper drawer at the bottom of your fridge. With lettuce, try to buy fresh (not bagged), separate the leaves, wash them in cold water and then pat the leaves dry with a clean tea towel. Line a food storage container with kitchen towel before placing the lettuce leaves in and storing it in the bottom of your fridge. These should stay fresh for at least five days and are already washed and ready for use! 

Try this recipe: 

For more information on Zero Waste Week or for tips and resources on how businesses, individuals and local authorities can make a difference visit: