We Waste 1.2 Billion Bread Crusts Every Year – Here's How You Could Be Using Them

Spoiler: it's all about making breadcrumbs, people 🍞

Now you’re an adult you don’t need to eat your crusts because your parents are making you (or promising they’ll give you curly hair). But you might want to consider the environmental repercussions of throwing away the end of the loaf.

Across the UK, 36% of households are regularly chucking their crusts, which might seem inconsequential on an individual level, but it all adds up – we are binning 1.2 billion bread crusts or 59 million loaves of bread every year.

This makes bread one of the biggest culprits of kitchen food waste, according to the North London Waste Authority, and not even because it is mouldy or inedible, but just because we don’t fancy eating it, which seems inexcusable.

Stefka Pavlova via Getty Images

So if we don’t want to use it as toast or sandwiches, what should we do with it instead?

Make breadcrumbs.

Whenever you have spare crusts you can make a small batch of breadcrumbs – even if it is just a single slice. If you haven’t got a blender use a cheese grater to make them and then freeze them in a plastic bag so they last. You can add more whenever you have another slice lying around.

Add a crunch to savoury dinners.

If you’re baking meat, fish, or vegetables, you can use breadcrumbs to add some texture to your meal. For example, if you’re baking salmon try adding a layer of soft cheese and then a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. You can use fresh breadcrumbs or some from your freezer bag.

Cook macaroni cheese.

Is there anything better than the crunch on top of macaroni cheese? Instead of having to source breadcrumbs to top it, make sure you have some stocked away in the freezer whenever you need them. They work well on other pasta dishes too.

Make a sweet ‘doughnut’.

Chef Mark Borrell says your bread crusts don’t even have to be made into something savoury, they can make a sweet treat like cinnamon crunch by tossing crusts with butter, sugar and cinnamon for a snack similar to doughnuts.

Or bread and butter pudding.

Bread and butter pudding is the classic way to use old bread. And it actually works best with stale loaves so there’s no excuse to throw them away. You’ll just need dried fruit, sugar, an egg, cinnamon, butter and a handful of nuts. You can freeze it too so cut it up in squares and take a slice in your lunchbox.