Toolkit: reducing food waste at home

Last updated: 30 January 2023

How to reduce food waste

Use these methods to reduce food waste in your home.

Plan your meals

This way you will only buy what you need. Make sure you include who is in and out each day in your plan.

Know what food you have

Keep track of your fresh food and use it before it goes bad. An ‘eat me first’ shelf in the fridge can help.

Use apps to help

Kitche: This is a food waste prevention app. You input your food shop by scanning the receipt and the app sends you reminders to use the food you have bought. There are also thousands of recipes and hacks to give inspiration.

Olio: This app connects neighbours, volunteers and local businesses so that surplus food can be given away for free instead of thrown away. Collection is free.

Too Good To Go: This app helps reduce food waste from retailers. Too Good To Go offers bundles for residents to buy at a greatly reduced price, as the food is close to its use-by date.

For more information and download instructions, view our list of useful apps.

Consider composting

Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It's easy to make and use.

Recycle For Buckinghamshire offers helpful advice on home composting and how to get started.

Tips to make your food go further

Love Food Hate Waste have 5 top tips to help make your food go further:

1. Be storage savvy

Different foods do better in different places, so knowing where to store them is key to keeping them fresh.

The Food Storage A–Z helps you figure out where to store your foods, as well as tips on how to use them up. For example, did you know that apples keep fresher for longer in the fridge but bananas need to stay in the cupboard?

2. Chill the fridge out!

Did you know that the average UK fridge is set to 7 degrees? This is too high for most foods and will cause them to go off sooner. Dialing it down to 0-5°C has the potential to keep your food fresh for up to 3 extra days.

To find out how to adjust the temperature of your fridge, use the handy fridge thermometer tool.

3. Get to know your date labels

‘Best before’ refers to quality – your food is at its best before this date but should still be OK to eat after. Use your senses to check.

‘Use by’ is about safety – eating food after this date could give you food poisoning. Remember that you can freeze your food up to and including the use by date, keeping it for another day.

4. Use up every edible bit of your food

Potato skins, bread crusts, and broccoli stems are all delicious and perfectly edible, but they often get wasted because we don’t think to use them up.

Try leaving the potato skins on when you make mash or adding broccoli stems to your stir fry or stew along with the florets.

5. Freezer hero

We all know that meat, pizza and ice cream can be frozen, but there may be a few foods that may surprise you. Eggs, milk, bread, cheese – in fact, almost anything can be frozen!

Pop a label on whatever you freeze to avoid any UFOs (Unidentified Frozen Objects).