Step One – Taking stock of your fridge and cupboards
The first step for me in cutting back on the amount of food we threw out was to become really conscious about what I was doing. That meant switching off doing things like the grocery shopping on auto-pilot.
I started by cleaning out my fridge, freezer and cupboards and threw out anything past its sell-by date. I reused plastic grocery bags to do this and it turned out to be a good way of comparing how much I bought versus how much I threw away.
Of the food I had left, I asked myself whether I would ever really use it. I tried to be realistic – that family-size pack of tuna is all very well, but I think I’m the only one who ever eats it and then only rarely. Food I decided to keep I made a point of moving to the front of the cupboard or fridge to remind myself to use it before its sell-by date.
Food I decided we would never ever eat I managed to donate to the local food bank and then, more importantly, I made a conscious decision to never. buy. again. If you shop online then some items may just be automatically added to your trolley and you accept them without thinking (this is why I now have 20 bags of cat litter waiting to be used) so I made sure I deleted those items from my original account settings.
Once my fridge, freezer and cupboards were up to date food-wise I set myself a loose schedule to keep on top of things and what ended up working was cleaning out the fridge once a week before the online grocery delivery arrives. I then clean out cupboards maybe once every two months and the freezer once every two to three months.
Tip 1: Count how many bags of food you throw away each week and keep a tally on a chart somewhere visible in the kitchen. If you want to go one step further, add up how much the food you’re throwing out costs and record that figure alongside.