According to the EPA, the average Irish family will save €700/year by taking steps to reduce their food waste.
The Environmental Protection Agency has launched its Stretch Out and Save campaign to encourage families to stop food waste.
Findings from a 2020 EPA survey on food waste attitudes showed that around 40% of Irish people say they waste a lot of fruit and vegetables and would like to make their fresh food last longer.
Fresh fruit, vegetables and salads are Irish summer favourites – but also the foods people waste the most.
Ireland has committed to halving food waste by 2030.
According to Mary Frances Rochford, EPA programme manager, properly storing fresh fruit and vegetables can help both the environment and your budget.
“We are calling on everyone to support and share our Stretch Out and Save campaign on social media and take a simple action to stop food waste.”
“Irish households produce over 250,000 tonnes of food waste per year, at the cost of €700 per household.”
“In addition, wasted food is a significant contributor to climate change – responsible for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Cutting food waste reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also provides real savings householders.”
Reduce food waste
The EPA’s top tips to stretch out and save your food this summer include:
- Do not put yourself in a jam; keep strawberries in the fridge with the green tops intact.
- Washing strawberries in a mixture of water and vinegar (8 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar) will also keep them fresh by killing any spores on the fruit.
- Do not see red when your tomatoes start to have mould spots; Store tomatoes in the open air to keep flavour and texture for longer.
- Some people make the mistake of leaving the bag of potatoes out in the light. In fact, potatoes last longer when stored in a cool, dark and dry place.
- But do not store them next to onions; the excess moisture in onions can result in potatoes sprouting faster.
- Keep carrots loose in the bottom drawer of the fridge to keep crisp. Ensure that you can see the carrots by removing them from plastic packaging. This avoids the ‘sweating’ that leads to mould formation.
- If your carrots come with the leaves intact, cut these off before storing them. The leaves draw moisture out of the roots causing your carrots to become bendy much faster.
Environmental scientist with the EPA Odile Le Bolloch explains:
“Summer is a time for enjoying lots of fresh produce and salads. These are also the foods that we waste the most.”
“With a few simple tips, we can keep the food we buy that bit fresher for that bit longer. The Stop Food Waste A-Z of Foods is a useful online resource on how to best manage common foods at home to prevent food waste.”
As no two foods are the same, different produce will often have different storage requirements.
Re-learning habits and implementing them as we put our shopping away will help to get the most out of groceries.
Find more tips.