From a young age, most of us would have been taught not to waste food. But a surprising number of us still do. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. In 2014, Singaporeans threw out 788,600 tonnes of food (that’s the weight of 108 fully loaded double-decked buses, by the way). On average, this means each one of us was “guilty” of chucking about 140kg of food into the bin that year — equivalent to two bowls of rice per day.
Home appliance brand Electrolux commissioned a survey in Singapore in an attempt to find out why. The 2015 Electrolux Food Waste At Home Survey of 1,000 respondents aged 18 to 65 found that the younger set (aged 18 to 24) was more wasteful than their senior counterparts (aged 45 to 54). More interestingly, 69% of respondents considered themselves to be passionate foodies but only 41% of them think about food waste. Almost half of the respondents (48%) admitted that they forget about food or leftovers at the back of the fridge and discard them when they expire or go bad.
To fight unnecessary waste, the CapitaLand EHS department has put together 10 tips to help you reduce food waste and save money.
1. Save your lemon peel.It’s a natural coffee cup stain remover. Simply place some lemon peel into your coffee-stained mug, add water and let it sit for a couple of hours. You’ll be able to scrub the coffee stains away quite easily after that.
2. Save your banana peel too.It works wonders for mosquito bites. Gently rub the inside of the peel on the affected area. The sugars in the peel can help to draw fluid out of the bite, reducing the itch.
3. Deodorise your fridge with coffee grounds.Place a bowl of dry coffee grounds at the back of your fridge or freezer to neutralise food odours.
Fresher for longer
4. Freeze your leftover herbs.Take an ice-cube tray, fill it with fresh herbs and add some water, stock or broth. You won’t have to throw out unused herbs and the cubes are convenient to use—just pop them into your next soup or stew.
5. Bathe berries in vinegar water.This helps destroy bacteria and mould spores so your berries last longer. Wash the berries in a vinegar water solution (one cup of white vinegar with three cups of water), rinse under running water, and pat dry. They shouldn’t turn fuzzy too soon.
6. Rub fresh eggs with oil.A light coat of vegetable oil will keep eggs fresh in the fridge for an additional three to four weeks. To test if the eggs are still fresh, gently place them in a bowl of water. If they sink, they’re still good.
7. Store potatoes and apples together.The ethylene gas from the apples will prevent the potatoes from sprouting. You should also keep onions away from potatoes, as gases from the onions will hasten the sprouting.
Get every last bit
8. Make salad dressing in a mayonnaise jar.The last bit of mayonnaise is usually difficult to scoop but instead of throwing it out, add olive oil and herbs directly into the jar. Give it a good shake and you’ve got an instant salad dressing.
9. Or a fruity vinaigrette from breakfast jam.This uses the same principle. Take an almost-empty jar of fruit jam and add olive oil, white vinegar, mustard, chopped greens and ground pepper. Shake to combine.
10. Prick a lemon.If your recipe calls for a dash of lemon juice, don’t waste a whole lemon. Puncture the rind with a toothpick and squeeze what you need. Seal the puncture with tape and store your still-fresh lemon in the fridge for other uses.
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