One of the easiest places to start to reduce what you send to landfill is to start with your food. Reducing food waste isn’t just good for the environment but it is good for our pockets too. The Bacofoil Zipper Bag Challenge is a great way to really think about how you can cut down on food waste, as it involves thinking about as many ways that you can to utilize the bags as possible over a two week period. The benefits of Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper Bags are that they are strong and great quality, have a zip tight seal, are reusable, have a stand-alone base, can be used indoors and out – plus you can pop them in the freezer.
Meal Planning to Avoid Food Waste
A great way to cut back on food waste is by meal planning – and only buying what you need: do not buy double the size because it is only 20p extra because that is just an extra 20p wasted if it is not used! Consider what days you will eat which foods and freezing what you will not eat immediately. Measure out exact quantities you need to avoid leftovers being an issue – keeping in mind that children need smaller portion sizes than adults (but you can always eat their leftovers to avoid waste too, particularly with their puddings right?). A food prep night (possibly on a Sunday) can help become focused and organised for the week ahead (it could also help cut back on those tired nights where you reach for a takeaway). You could even do bulk cooking and store them flat in the freezer in Baccofoil Zipper bags. Plan it so you have the same or similar ingredients close together if you will not use them all – I need to do this more with tubs of cream! You can also do this for lunches or for a picnic – again the Bacofoil Zipper Bags can be used to hold each days’ food, sandwiches etc (and even frozen) perfect for school packed lunches. You could even decorate them with googly eyes/feathers, etc to make them even more exciting for children.
Here’s a list of a few other things you could have organized into your Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper Bags especially if you are shopping zero waste and so buying things without packaging: Fruit, Vegetables, Salad, Smoothie Fruits/Vegetables Portions, Pasta, Rice, Omlette Middles (peppers, ham, cheese, etc), Seeds, Nuts, Meat portions, Cereal, Pancake Mix (minus the egg), Measured Dry cake ingredients, Grated cheese, Stir Fry Ingredients, Bread crumbs and Ice cubes.
What to do with Leftovers to Avoid Food Waste
If you still have leftovers then use them the following day or freeze them for a convenient meal later on, or make extra so there is enough for another meal and freeze it (this cuts back on there being not enough left-over to save but too much for people to eat). Good ideas for using us a random selection of leftovers are chilli, pasta sauce, soup, curries, casseroles, leftover-pie, – not forgetting Bubble and Squeak. You can also make fruit pies, crumbles, sauces, cakes, muffins and smoothies from fruit even when it is over ripe. Have some leftover recipes at hand or know where you can find them (such as LovefoodhateWaste Food Match) or have a look on Pinterest! Of course you can use up everything including bones to make a stock, the ends of vegetables and vegetable peelings can be utilised in this (which can be frozen until required). Try having weeks where you do not buy anything new in order to use up what you have left already.
Why not consider others – do you have any friends, family or neighbours who could benefit from the food – a leftover meal or a surplus supply of fruit/vegetables you have grown. Or even something that would go off whilst you are away on holiday.
Of course if food is really bad (mouldy for example) you can compost it. We are lucky that our local council collect cooked food, meat and bones – as well as all the other things we put in our normal garden compost bin. Did you know that banana peels are good for rose plants? Just chop them up and plant them near the roots.
Freezing Foods to Achieve Zero Waste
What foods can be frozen?
Knowing what you can freeze and how best to freeze it is important. Plus how long it is safe to freeze. This is why each Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper bag has space to write on exactly what is inside and the date that you put it there. You could even include when it is best to be used by too, to make life even easier. Meat can be frozen raw or cooked but is best taken out of the store packaging and placed in a food bag first – you can then put the desired amount for either each meal or each person, in a Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper bag, which will also take up less room in the freezer.
So many things can be frozen if done correctly: Did you know that all fruit can be frozen? And if stored properly vegetable can last a year in the freezer. I find dinners so much easier and convenient just reaching for frozen vegetables too! First wash the vegetables properly, dry and divide into portions. Then flash freeze (which locks in the nutrients better) by placing them on a baking tray and freeze for 10-15 minutes before putting in a Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper bag. Vegetables can go in raw but blanching (dropping into boiling water followed immediately by putting them into ice water before drying) keeps them at their peak. The same method can be used with cakes but let them cool for 20 minutes after coming out of the oven before freezing (and obviously they don’t need washing first!). You can utilise the Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper bags to make up individual portions of raspberries, strawberries, sliced oranges and lemons etc. These can then be used for snacks for packed lunches or to make sure that people are getting their 5 a day (in a measured out amount for the week). The great thing is the bags can be used indoors and out, and then placed into the freezer – so why not go berry picking (rain or shine) and then they can go straight to be frozen until needed. If you do not have time to freeze fruit and vegetables then buy them frozen in the first place.
As well as meals you have already cooked the following can also be frozen: Dairy – including milk, cheese and yoghurt. Chocolate and chocolate chips and tiny marshmallows can be stored in the freezer – perfect for those hot chocolates on cold days. Even eggs – raw or cooked but you must take them out of their shell first. Use an ice cube tray to separate whites and yolks – they can also be frozen for a year. You can also freeze herbs in ice trays with a bit of water before transferring to a freezer bag. Pancakes, French toast and tortillas can be frozen – cooked or the batter. Plus pizza dough, pie dough and muffin batter. Pasta is best if it is cooked slightly less than usual before freezing. As well as chicken stock, soups and home-made sauces. Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper bag have a leak proof seal so perfect for storing all these things! Fish for Thought has some good information on what can be frozen and for how long: https://www.fishforthought.co.uk/frozen_facts.htm
Shopping to Achieve Zero Food Waste
There are some simple rules when doing your food shopping to avoid ending up with food waste. Don’t shop when you are hungry as this is when you are more likely to buy fresh food that will go to waste. Also check your cupboards before you do the shopping so you don’t end up buying things in excess – this I am particularly guilty of when it comes to herbs and spices! Plan your meals, make a list and then shop online – this avoids getting those little extras and being lured into buying “special offers.” If you do go to the shops then try to buy the freshest produce possible as you are more likely to use it before it goes off and fresh ingredients have more nutrients.
You can download theTooGood to Go App – available for Android and IOS. It finds homes for unsold food from vendors and restaurants before they shut for the day. Customers can browse through current offerings and pay via the app. To collect the food they just show their receipt. The app has been downloaded 1.2m times since its launch in 2015 and the company believes it prevented 10,000 meals being sent to landfill by November last year!
Stop buying the Food you Throw Away to Achieve Zero Waste
Next take notice of what you do not eat. It is good to try new foods and experiment with meal ideas but if you are throwing away the same things each week then it is a clear sign that you shouldn’t bother buying them in the first place. However, don’t get hung up on best before and use by dates. Trust your judgement/instincts and remember that lots of items can be used beyond them. Of course this is not only good for the planet but will save you money. We found this with lettuce whenever we had salads for example – so looked at growing our own leaves instead. The Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper bag again came in handy as we could place them in the bag and it helped the leaves grow up, meant we could place water in the bag to water it, and protected it from flies!
Other Uses for Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper Bags include:
Bacofoil Zipper Bags are reusable and can be washed and used again. But if they are best their best (or maybe you don’t fancy using them once they have had raw meat in then you could use them as a food waste bag. Other food uses include using the Bacofoil ZIpper Bags to marinade meat overnight, or make overnight oats. Or how about using it to do a boil in the bag for salmon or veggies – adding herbs or lemon. Dough could be placed in the bag to be kneaded without getting your hands dirty.
These handy bags do not just have to be used for food, here is some of the non-food ideas we have come up with to use them over the two week challenge period:
Keeping Suntan lotion from leaking over your bag; Make-up bag; Keeping Toothbrushes in to travel; Sandbags; Sick bag; Piping bag; Forest walk collecting bag (for leaves, acorns etc); To do list holder (such as with lollypop sticks with activities on); Tidy garden (put weeds in); Animal feed (when visiting a farm/zoo); Store fabrics/craft materials in; Phone bag – for on beach and water rides; Colouring pencils and book in – for journeys; Tablet protector; Put your wet muddy socks in; Store wet wipes – or a wet flannel; stop Play dough drying out; Mini first aid bag; Cosmetic bag; Pencil case; Ice packs for bumps and/or keeping food cool.; Funnel (transferring into containers); and Storing and organsing LEGO.
Can you think of any more ideas of how to use these Bacofoil All Purpose Zipper bags?
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This is a collaborative post with Bacofoil.
Also thanks for the following bloggers for their food waste avoidance ideas:
Clare Nicholas – thismummysalwayswrite.com; Sarah Lyon – http://www.champagneandpetals.com; Chantal Nowak capturingthesedays.co.uk; Rebecca Smith ialwaysbelievedinfutures.com; Katy Stevens –http://katykicker.com; Laura Breslin themammafairy.com; Amy Shipham – epsandamy.co.uk; Samantha Robinson porridgeandparenting.com; Jen Mellor justaveragejen.com; Jenny Leonard – thebrickcastle.com; Emily Peacock http://www.emilyandindiana.com; Karina Davies http://mumsthenerd.co.uk; Kelly Chubb funwith1plus1.com; Terri Rankin https://www.teaterriandtwo.com; Helen Miller http://www.talkingmums.com; Georgina Gardiner http://www.geegardner.co.uk; Susan K Mann https://www.susankmann.com/; Jo Isherwood http://cupoftoast.co.uk; Tracey Kifford packthepjs.com; Victoria Sully https://www.lyliarose.com; Wendy Mallins – http://daisesandpie.co.uk; Becky Goddard-Hill thrifty-home.co.uk; Simone Baker marriedtoageek.co.uk; Frances Taylor whingewhingewine.co.uk; Vicki Coombe tippytupps.com; Hannah Clementson anewadditionblog.co.uk; Erica Price http://92three30.com/; Hollie Gregersen thriftymum.com