It’s an alarming amount of waste and it needs to change.
New book ‘My Zero-Waste Kitchen’ (£6.99) hopes to play some part in tackling the problem by offering useful and easy-to-apply tips on living more sustainably.
To help get you started, here are eight super useful hacks for using up the ingredients in your fridge without going anywhere near the bin.
1. Use leftovers in smoothies.
Kiwi skins, banana skins, apple cores, leftover greens (such as kale stalks, broccoli stems and lettuce), herb stems, watermelon rinds and strawberry tops can all be added to smoothies for a boost of flavour.
2. Grind up your eggshells.
“Packed with micronutrients, eggshells are an awesome source of calcium,” says the book’s writer and editor Ruth O’Rourke-Jones.
“Use a small amount as a supplement - try adding 1/4 tsp of powder to one large smoothies. You need about 20 eggshells to make half a small jar. Rinse well and remove any membrane before you start.”
To make the powder, bake your eggshells in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes. Remove them and, once cooled, process the shells in a blender or grind them with a pestle and mortar. Once reduced to a fine dust, store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
3. Get composting.
If you don’t compost your leftovers, it might be time to start.
In addition to the usual suspects (fruit, veg and leftovers), the book reveals you can compost things like cupcake liners, tissues, 100% cotton tea towels, chewing gum, cardboard and wine corks.
4. Layer leftovers in plastic containers or jars.
Leftovers from your evening meal can actually make a pretty nice lunch the next day - and you don’t necessarily have to eat the same old thing.
One example featured in the book consists of brown rice, spinach, red peppers, boiled egg, peas, beets, hummus and beansprouts layered in a jar.
5. Add scraps of pasta into soup.
If you’ve got a tiny bit of pasta left in a bag and it’s not enough for a serving, why not add it to your soup to bulk it up a bit?
Simply part-cook the pasta and then add it to your soup, where it can finish cooking.
6. Watch out for floaters.
Forget expiry dates, if you think your eggs might be bad, simply pop them in a glass of water and wait to see if they float. If they do, they’ve gone off.
7. Use all of your spring onions.
Chop and sauté the top of your spring onions and add them to mashed potato for a flavour boost, O’Rourke-Jones suggests.
8. Revive wilting greens.
“Leafy greens can wilt within a couple of days, but this doesn’t always mean you have to throw them away,” she adds.
“Soak stems in warm water for about 10-15 minutes. If this doesn’t revive them, put them in compost.”
‘My Zero-Waste Kitchen’ is published by DK. £6.99. DK.com