Don’t bin good food before you go on holiday

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Holidaygoers are being asked to think again before binning good food before they go away.

Central Bedfordshire Council is asking people to think about how they can avoid throwing away food.

The UK population annually throws out perfectly edible food worth over half a billion pounds when they go on holiday, and £12 million worth of food will be binned during the first week of the summer break alone.

This summer, Central Bedfordshire Council is partnering with an environmental charity in a nationwide campaign to reduce food waste, called #TravellersCheck. People heading off on holiday over the coming weeks are being asked to freeze food, or share food with their neighbours.

A survey by the organisers of #TravellersCheck found that only 13% of people said they passed on food to neighbours before they go on holiday, despite a massive 81% of people revealing they’d be happy to receive food from a neighbour. Of the food most likely to be thrown away as people head off on their travels, milk; salad; fruit; yogurt; and bread topped the list. 45% of people said they threw food away because they thought it couldn’t be frozen, but many weren’t actually aware which foods can be frozen – 58% didn’t realise you can freeze milk, 62% ham and 63% hard cheese.

Councillor Budge Wells at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Around half of all food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes, rather than from shops or restaurants, and more than half of that could have been eaten. Food waste costs the average household £470 a year. For a family with children, that rises to £700 – the equivalent of around £60 binned every month. This is a waste of food, and a waste of money. So this summer we are urging residents think about better ways of making use of the food in their fridge before they head off on a summer trip.”

The top tips for reducing wasted food are:

Put anything that will go past its use by date into the freezer to eat when you get back.

Always freeze your leftovers so you have convenient instant homemade meals when you need, such as your first day back from holiday.

Slice any leftover bread, put it in a sealed bag and freeze. You can then toast it straight from frozen when you get back home.

If you can’t use food or freeze it, then share it with your neighbour.