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Waste Not, Want Not! How to solve the problem of food waste... one meal at a time

Wasting food is something that we’re probably all guilty of, to a greater or lesser extent. Whether it’s binning the remnants of dinner, throwing away a half-eaten loaf of bread, or clearing the fridge of those limp-looking (but still edible) veggies! In fact, 40 per cent of our food shop on average is destined for the bin (Elmlea ). Such is the extent of this habit, that every year enough good food to provide 650 million meals is being chucked away in landfill, or sent to be turned into bio fuel or animal feed. Only 5% makes its way to good redistribution charities! This surplus occurs everywhere in the supply chain, from field through to fork. As if the human tragedy of this waste isn’t bad enough, this situation is equally disastrous for the environment, say FareShare . After all, producing food (which is then wasted) incurs a range of emissions from a variety of sources, including the heat and energy used in manufacturing (the heating for strawberries or salads, for example, or the 15,000 litres of water needed to produce an average kilo of beef). Then there’s the energy used in transportation, storage and cooking. And it doesn’t end there, with more emissions coming from the landfill when it all decays, and from the land-use changes involved in creating more farmland to grow more food! According to The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), food loss and waste generates more than four times as much annual greenhouse gas emissions as aviation and is comparable to road transport emissions. So why are we throwing so much away? Well, 74 per cent of us are “left baffled” when it comes to knowing what to do with leftovers and ingredients approaching their use by date. The top three ingredients most likely to be thrown out are apparently lettuce, bread and bananas, with peppers and carrots also making this list. This is according to research by Elmlea . With this in mind, we’ve brought you the first of our zero waste meal series - Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad. By roasting your surplus veggies and mixing them in with some quinoa, you can create a high protein, healthy lunch or dinner accompaniment that not only spares on waste, but also makes a valuable contribution to your nutrition.

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