The 14 Best Zero Waste Sunscreens in the UK for You and Your Family

zero waste sunscreen uk, plastic free sunscreen UK, sustainable sunscreen UK

With warm weather and sunshine making regular appearances the call to be a part of it is a strong one. Olivia and Penny regularly run outside to play and end up in their birthday suits playing with the hose pipe and paddling pool.

As a parent you want to make sure the sunscreen ingredients are safe for your family and the environment. Even better if you can find a plastic-free sunscreen.

So, whether you are getting some Vitamin D at home or at the holiday destination of your choosing, having the right sunscreen can make or break your time outdoors.

What do I need to look for in a sunscreen?

There are so many variables that finding a sustainable sunscreen that ticks all the boxes is not easy, so let’s break down what you need to know.

UVAs and UVBs (and even UVCs)

UV rays are the suns Ultra Violet rays from the sun and are measured by their wavelengths.

UVAs have the longest wavelengths and are not absorbed by the ozone layer. UVAs can also travel through clouds and windows. These are the rays that not only lead to signs of early aging like leathery skin, brown spots, and wrinkles.

UVBs have a medium wavelength and only 5% get through the atmosphere down to the ground. UVBs don’t travel through clouds, however UVB is the one most likely to cause your sunburn. UVBs are also responsible for Vitamin D production.

UVCs have a short length and luckily for us are a non-issue because the atmosphere stops them from getting to the ground.

When looking for sunscreen you will want it to protect against both UVAs and UVBs which is often labelled as Broad Spectrum.

Reef Safe

We want to protect our skin but it shouldn’t cost the environment to do it, so we also need to look for reef safe sunscreens.

In the US, the states of Hawaii and Florida have banned the sale of over the counter sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, octinoxate. It’s worth mentioning that octocrylene (which may be found in “reef safe” sunscreens) is not safe for marine creatures. The first two chemicals cause coral bleaching and can lead to the eventual death of the coral while the third has been found at detectable levels in fish and can cause liver and brain damage in zebrafish.

Coral is important for it’s biodiversity providing food and shelter for many species below the water. For us humans they provide the first line of defence against hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, and typhoons.

As global warming creates stronger storms every year, not having coral reefs can make the consequences even more devastating for the people living on the coasts. Not to mention losing the fish that live in the coral will work it’s way up to threaten our food supply.

So what can you use?

Look for zinc-oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient.

Nano vs. Non Nano

Nano is short for nanoparticles and refers to the size of the particles in ingredients for the things like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sunscreen.

The issue is that nanoparticles are small enough to be inhaled which according to EWG can have negative effects on a person’s lungs when inhaled in large quantities.

Non-Nano means that the particles are 100 nanometers or more and less likely to be inhaled and not found to affect marine creatures.

According to a UC Davis study found that small amounts of nano particles from zinc in sunscreens and copper in boat paint can both lead to (in the study) sea urchin embryos not being able to eat or develop.

Why is this important? Small sea creatures are food for larger sea creatures that are potentially our food. No more food for our food means no more food for us.

So, look for non-nano and avoid spray sunscreens to prevent inhalation issues.

Rating Systems

There are two rating systems for sunscreens. The most well-known ratings the SPF rating, which seems to be universal, and the UVA star rating which won’t be really useful for us. (I’ll explain why in a moment).

SPF means Sun Protection Factor and the numbers refer to the amount of UVB rays being blocked.

According to Altruist’s website SPF 15 blocks 93% or UVBs, SPF 30 blocks 96.7% and SPF 50 blocks 98.3%.

SPF 30 is plenty for most.

The star rating for UVAs is a system developed by Boots’ chemists. That means only the product lines they carry or their own brands are allowed to use the rating. This means that independent, smaller brands will not have a star rating.

UVAs have a star rating based on 5 stars. 4 or 5 stars would be considered a good UVA rating. If the sunscreen you selected doesn’t have a star rating, make sure it says Broad Spectrum which would include protection against both UVAs and UVBs.

A 4 or 5 star SPF 30 would be a good sunscreen. The only time you would need higher SPF would be is you have incredibly sun sensitive skin (in which case you should be using a mineral-based sunscreen anyway) or you are at higher altitudes where the atmosphere is thinner.

What’s the Difference Between Sunscreen and Sunblock?

Sunscreens are chemicals that get absorbed into the skin for sun protection. They include the chemicals being banned from Hawaii and Florida as well as avobenzone and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).

Sunblocks are minerals that sit on top of the skin forming a barrier from the suns rays and are commonly known as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The mineral sunscreens recommended would technically be sunblocks.

Our Considerations for Sustainable Sunscreens

In our efforts to be as environmentally friendly as possible there are other things to look out for.

Is the company part of the Fair Trade Foundation or a certified B Corporation that makes sure workers are getting fair pay, treatment, and safety measures provided?

Are the active ingredients reef-safe and Non-Nano?

Is the product using sustainable, organic materials?

Is the product cruelty free and vegetarian/vegan?

Is the packaging available plastic-free?

Is it locally made to cut down on the carbon footprint from shipping?

Is all of this even possible in one product????

Yes, or very close to it!

Quick Links to Eco-Friendly Sunscreens

Best Eco-Friendly Sunscreens for the Whole Family

1. Shade

2. We Love the Planet

3. Suntribe

4. Odylique

5. Green People

6. Organii

7. Amazinc

Eco-Friendly Children’s Sunscreens

8. Naif

9. Attitude

10. Badger

11. Green People

Eco-Friendly Sunscreen for Your Face

12. Madara

13. Organii

14. Suntribe

Bonus! SPF Lip Balms

15. Lavera

16. Hurraw

Bonus! Zero Waste Fake Tan!

1. Green People

2. Tan Organic

3. Madara

Recommended Eco-Friendly Sunscreens

So, I have been scouring the internet so you don’t have to in search of environmentally friendly, skin friendly sunscreens. While some check more boxes than others, these are a good selection that will be safe for you, your family and the environment.

All Over Sunscreens

1. Shade

The Good: No Plastic! Locally Made in the U.K. No animal testing. No palm oil. Non-Nano. Reef Safe. Only four ingredients. Available in SPF 25 and SPF 50.

The “Bad”: Uses beeswax so not vegan friendly, but it is sustainably sourced.

The Verdict: This is a great sunscreen to grab as the benefits make this the all-around winner for contents and packaging. It is also safe for the whole family to use and safe for the oceans.

Definitely recommend this one!

plastic free sunscreen uk, zero waste sunscreen uk

2. We Love the Planet Natural Sunscreen Stick SPF 30

The Good: No Plastic! SPF 30, UVA and UVB protection, Reef Safe, Vegan, Eco Control label, No Animal Testing

The “Bad”: Stick Application, Nano. I looked up the Eco Control certification as this was one I have not heard of and the website is very vague, claiming they have no own standards but do mention sustainable practices and recycling, but not fair trade practices.

The Verdict: If the stick application doesn’t bother you then that’s not an issue. The ease of recycling the packaging is a plus. I think an email asking for more transparency is in order ([email protected]) because other than that this company seems to be a good one. The nano is a bummer as it may be reef safe, but it’s not safe for the marine life.

Plastic free sunscreen uk, zero waste sunscreen uk

3. Suntribe Body SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Reef Safe, Non-Nano, Organic, EcoCert or COSMOS certifications, No Animal Testing, and Cruelty Free, Cane Sugar Plastic that can be put into the recycling bin.

The “Bad”: Not Vegan because of the beeswax.

The Verdict: Just an all-around good company and sunscreen.

Happy to recommend this product.

Reef Safe sunscreen uk

4. Odylique Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, Soil Association Organic, No Palm Oil, Fair Trade Certified, UK Made, No Animal Testing, Reef Safe and Purchases Include Charitable Donations, Spreads easily without whitening, Effective Immediately

The “Bad”: Unclear if it is Non-Nano, Plastic Tubes

The Verdict: Everything on the inside is good stuff, and Odylique’s fair trade certs and organic ingredients make it a great company to purchase from. Use the Terracycle drop-off points to recycle the plastic tube.

Reef Safe sunscreen UK, Zero Waste Sunscreen UK

5. Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30 for sensitive skin, protects against UVA and UVBs, organic, sustainable palm oil, Made in the UK, Ethical Practices, Purchases Include Charitable Donations, and Cruelty Free

The “Bad”: Nano Titanium Dioxide, Plastic Tube, Not Vegan (beeswax)

The Verdict: Because it’s a lotion the risk of inhaling the nano particles are slim, but despite being reef safe, it’s not safe for the marine life. Use the Terracycle drop-off points to recycle the plastic tube.

Reef Safe Sunscreen UK

6. Organii Sun Cream SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30, Protects against UVA and UVBs, Organic, No Animal Testing, Vegan, Sustainable Palm Oil, Non-Nano, ICEA certification (Italy’s ethical and environmental certification)

The “Bad”: The Plastic Tube

The Verdict: Everything on the inside is great for protecting your skin and the environment. Use the Terracycle drop-off points to recycle the plastic tube.

Sustainable Sunscreen UK, Reef Safe sunscreen UK

7. Amazinc Mineral Sun Lotion SPF 50

The Good: SPF 50, Non-Nano, Vegan, Sustainably Sourced Ingredients, Plastic Free Aluminium Packaging.

The “Bad”: This sunscreen uses almond oil so if you or a family member have a nut allergy, you’ll want to skip this one.

The Verdict: If you have crazy sensitive skin or are at higher altitudes where the atmosphere is thinner then this is the way to go. Beware that Amazinc has other sunscreens but they contain bees wax and lanolin (a derivative from sheep’s skin, so not vegan).

plastic free sunscreen uk, eco friendly sunscreen uk

Sunscreens for Kids

8. NAÏF Baby Protecting Sunscreen SPF 50

The Good: SPF 50, Protects against UVA and UVB, Vegan, Cane Sugar Plastic Tube that can go in the recycle bin (without the lid), Sustainable Palm Oil, Non-Nano, No White Residue

The “Bad”: No Information about any fair trade practices or certifications.

The Verdict: High protection sunscreen that is good for the oceans. Packaging created without petroleum using residual waste from sugar cane production that can be recycled easily (Without the lid).

Reef Safe sunscreen UK, safe sunscreen for kids UK

9. Attitude Baby & Kids 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30, Broadspectrum, Non-Nano, Reef Safe, Vegan, No Animal Testing, Clear Application, Ecologo Certification (meets strict Canadian environmental standards from Production to disposal), partnered with the Eden Reforestation and One Tree Planted to plant trees with every product purchased.

The “Bad”: No mention of fair trade practices, Plastic Tube.

The Verdict: Safe product for the kids, the plastic will need to be recycled at a Terracycle drop off point.

sustainable kids sunscreen uk, safe sunscreen for kids uk

10. Badger Sunscreen for Kids SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30, UVA and UVB protection, Non-Nano, Reef Safe, Organic, No Palm Oil, Cruelty Free, Certified B Corporation.

The “Bad”: Made in the USA so a larger carbon footprint in transportation, Plastic Tube, Contains Beeswax so not Vegan.

The Verdict: Excellent, safe sunscreen for the kids as well as being safe for the oceans and ethical business practices. Beeswax isn’t an issue for non-vegans. The plastic will need to be recycled at a Terracycle drop off point.

kids sunscreen uk, safe sunscreen for kids UK

11. Green People No Scent Children’s Sun Lotion SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30 for sensitive skin, protects against UVA and UVBs, organic, sustainable palm oil, Made in the UK, Ethical Practices, purchases include charitable donations, and Cruelty Free.

The “Bad”: Nano Titanium Dioxide, Plastic Tube

The Verdict: A lovely sensitive sunscreen for your kids. Because it’s a lotion the risk of inhaling the nano particles are slim, but it’s not good for the marine life in the oceans. The plastic will need to be recycled at a Terracycle drop off point.

kids sunscreen UK, safe kids sunscreen uk

Sunscreens For Your Face

12. Madara Plant Stem Cell Age Protecting Sunscreen Face SPF 30

The Good: SPF 30, Broad Spectrum, No White Residue, Organic, EcoCert, Anti-Aging ingredients included, Offers Factory Tours to Keep Things Transparent.

The “Bad”: Plastic Tube, Not Vegan because of the Beeswax

The Verdict: A good sunscreen for your face. The plastic will need to be recycled at a Terracycle drop off point.

Daily Face Sunscreen UK

13.Organii SPF 15 Anti-Aging Facial Sun Cream

The Good: SPF 15, UVA and UVB protection, Non-Nano, Organic, Vegan, No Animal Testing, Sustainable Palm Oil, ICEA certified

The “Bad”: The Plastic Tube

The Verdict: Great sunscreen for every day use. The plastic will need to be recycled at a Terracycle drop off point.

Daily Face Sunscreen UK

14. Suntribe Organic Day Cream

The Good: SPF 20, Broad Spectrum, Reef Safe, Non-Nano, Organic, EcoCert or COSMOS certifications, No Animal Testing, and Cruelty Free, Vegan, Non-Oily for your Face, Aluminium Tube!

The “Bad”: Hmmmm…..

The Verdict: This is a winner. Plastic-Free and a safe product for your face. What’s not to like?

Plastic Free Face Sunscreen UK, Zero Waste Face sunscreen UK

Lip Balms with SPF Protection

Finding an SPF Lip Balm in sustainable packaging and even just sustainable ingredients is tough.

From what I have seen, it doesn’t exist.

You either have a really great product and company in plastic, or a handmade product in tin or paper board, but no way of knowing where the ingredients are sourced from and no certifications for the SPF. Ugh.

There are plenty of regular lip balms available without the plastic they are just also without the SPF.

1. Lavera Organic Sun Care Lip Balm SPF 10

The Good: Organic, Sustainable Palm Oil, Vegan, No Animal Testing, Reef Safe

The “Bad”: The Plastic, Unclear if it’s Non-Nano, SPF 10

The Verdict: The SPF being only 10 doesn’t meet the FDA minimum recommendation of 15, but some protection is better than none and the plastic is just unavoidable if you want products that are organic and sustainably sourced. That is the balancing act when reducing your waste, hence green-ish.

Reef Safe lip balm

2. Hurraw SPF 15 Lip Balm

The Good: SPF 15, Non-Nano, Reef Safe ingredients, Organic, Cruelty Free, EcoCert, Vegan, practice Fair Trade independently as opposed to paying the Fair Trade Certification body.

The “Bad”: Made in the USA so larger carbon footprint for shipping, Plastic Tube

The Verdict: When the materials are available the company uses recycled materials for the tubes, they are continuing to look for solutions. Overall best available lip balm with sunscreen.

Reef Safe SPF Lip Balm

How to apply your sunscreen

The typical adult needs about 36 grams of sunscreen to adequately cover their body and a teaspoon for your face. Think a shot glass full of sunscreen. Have someone help with hard to reach places on your back and don’t forget your scalp and ears.

Apply 15-30 minutes before you go into the sun to give the sunscreen time to start working.

Reapply your sunscreen every 90 minutes or so and whenever you exit the water and towel dry yourself. Water resistant is not waterproof so be sure to reapply after extended periods in the water or if you have been sweating.

What should I do with leftover sunscreen?

Sunscreen generally has a shelf life of a year, so If you buy your sunscreen at the beginning of summer, you will need more next summer. (I know, obviously). But if you get to the end of summer and have sunscreen left over, don’t let it go to waste.

The sunscreens above contain oils and butters aside from the mineral protection of the sunscreen. Why not try using it as a foot moisturiser for those cracked heels in the wintertime? Pop it in your bag and use it as a hand cream.

If your sunscreen is in a metal tin, look for ways to reuse the tin before you recycle it. Keeping one handy to store jewellry in for traveling is one idea to reuse the tin. You can use it for storing the buttons that come with your clothing, paper clips or other small office supplies. They are also perfect for storing homemade deodorant.

Aluminium bottles can be easily recycled, but don’t just discard the plastic tubes either. If your sunscreen is in a squeezy plastic tube, they can be recycled through the Garnier’s Terracycle Scheme. They accept any brand of personal care products including sunscreen tubes, just click to find a drop off location near you.

After Sun Care

When you are done with the sun, take a cool shower. UVBs continue tanning your skin even after you have gone in for the day. The cool rinse will help stop the process.

Drink plenty of water to rehydrate and make sure to moisturise your skin.

If you have found that you have burned take the following steps to prevent any further damage.

According to the NHS website, if you end up with a mild sunburn (aka no blisters) you’ll want to rinse of with a cool shower so you don’t get too cold. Use an alcohol-free aloe vera gel. Drink plenty of water and take paracetamol for pain. If you have burned you will want to avoid the sun for at least a week to prevent the burn from getting worse.

Eco-Friendly Fake Tans

Believe it or not there are options for a fake tan without the chemicals!

1. Green People have a gradual tanning moisturiser to build up your tan gradually without the UV exposure.

2. Tan Organic Self-Tanning Oil gives a quick bronzed look and can be used on your face! No applicator gloves necessary.

3. Madara Fake It Natural Look Suntan Milk needs an applicator glove, but it’s full of lovely ingredients that are good for your skin.

You can always go DIY and mix some bronzing powder with some lotion or sunscreen if you need something quick for a day out or wedding. Rub it on and let it dry. It will act like makeup and can rub off on clothes, but it washes off easily enough.

Not Perfect, but Going in the Right Direction

While the perfect sunscreen combination of sustainable packaging, ethical practices and planet-friendly ingredients that provide the best protection and absorb the way we want may not quite exist (yet). But hopefully you will agree that this list represents a good set of options in the meantime. If you discover products worth mentioning based on our criteria above, please feel free to share in the comments below.

10 Simple Tips to Reduce Your Food Waste

wasting food, how to reduce food waste

We’ve all done it.

You buy certain foods or ingredients with the intention of whipping up some culinary masterpiece (or just a decent homemade meal) and something happens that changes our plans. The next thing you know you have a tub of clotted cream a week past it’s use by date and a bag of wilted, slimy spinach.

If you are lucky enough to have toddlers, you will know the struggle of making a meal that is a hit one week and thrown in your face the next. Penny is really good at launching her food across the table or onto the floor with her lightning fast ninja skills rendering the food inedible depending where it lands. For Olivia, she is going through the brown food phase where if it’s not chicken, chips, or bread she won’t eat it.

And then there’s just the general food waste from peeling potatoes or tossing broccoli stems or the outer peels of the onions. Not to mention the well-intentioned leftovers that don’t get eaten.

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So, what is the main cause of food waste?

UK fruit and vegetable farmers waste about 37,000 tonnes of their crops each year. A third for reasons like not being the right size, shape, or colour for supermarkets! Supermarkets are a driving factor in farm waste because they always demand farmers to have enough supplies to meet possible demands or the farmers risk losing their contracts.

Britain’s restaurants throw away 600,000 tonnes of food every year with a third of it being unfinished food from customers’ plates. Restaurants here for whatever reason have decided to adopt America’s out of control food portions leading to food waste from the customers. The rest is from the food prep process.

Food waste in U.K. households though was a staggering 6.6 million tonnes in 2018 and 70% of it was edible.

And what is the most wasted food in the UK?

Potatoes. (Followed by bread, milk, bananas, and salad).

To put some perspective on this…

The farm waste alone is enough food to feed the residents of Manchester their 5-a-day for a year.

What are the problems with food waste?

First is the money wasted. The average UK household throws away £60 a month (or £720 a year) in edible food. I know I would love to have an extra £60 a month!

Secondly, is the environmental impact. Every bit of food requires, land, water, and other resources to grow, pack and ship the food. The carbon footprint created is huge.

Which thirdly leads to the climate crisis. Food waste sent to landfill creates enough methane (a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming) that if global food waste was a country, it’s emissions would be third after only China and the USA.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning food insecurity or food poverty. In the UK alone, 1 in 5 children under the age of 15 does not have enough food to eat regularly. While this is not necessarily yours or my fault when we throw away potato peelings, the food being wasted at other points in the supply chain needs to be distributed to those that need it as opposed to going to waste.

So, what can you do to reduce food waste?

Luckily, there are some small, easy changes we can make to stop wasting food as well as a few more activist-type things we can do to get food waste reduced in other ways.

No matter how many you decide to implement here are 9 tips to reduce your food waste. Every bit you don’t throw away is a positive step for the planet.

1. Meal Planning

Taking the time every week before you shop is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your food waste.

By having a plan, you buy only what you need and you alleviate stress during the week because you know what you are having to eat every day.

When you make a meal plan, you also are more realistic about what you are going to eat and it gives you a reason to not impulse buy in the shop because you already know what’s on the menu. If it’s not on the list, you may not have time to eat it before it goes bad.

Shopping on a full stomach also helps you to avoid over-buying temptation.

Grab Your Free Copy of The Busy Mum’s Weekly Meal Planner!

The planner can be printed out or used on your smart device. Save money and stress less by staying organised. Oh, and reduce your waste, too!

ways to reduce food waste, reduce food waste

2. Try a Food Delivery Service

Gousto is my favourite food delivery service for several reasons.

First, and most importantly, the recipes are delicious.

There are so many different types of food that it gives you a chance to try a recipe without worrying about screwing it up because they give you exactly the right amount of everything. The only way you can balls it up is to burn it.

Which is the next important bit. You order the amount of servings you need and Gousto gives you the exact ingredients, no more, no less. There is virtually no food waste from their recipes.

Another reason I like Gousto is they take their packaging seriously. When I received my boxes they use wool to keep the cold items insulated which can be repurposed for things like insulating your loft or making a pet bed (which wasn’t totally horrible, but now they use Eco Chill plastic free boxes and reduced their plastic use by 74.5 tonnes a year!

They aren’t stopping there either. Gousto’s goal is to make all their Gousto-branded plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2022.

I don’t use the service all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to have a break from meal planning and have everything done for you. You even get a lovely recipe card for each recipe you try meaning you can make it again (like double batches of their Butter Chicken) by shopping the ingredients yourself.

The price is so reasonable, too. Yes, it may cost a little more than shopping yourself, however you won’t have the food waste and it’s still waaaaayyyy cheaper than eating out multiple days a week.

3. Store Your Food Correctly

Potatoes are the number one food wasted in the UK. Would they be wasted as often if we stored them correctly?

Potatoes need to be stored in a cool, dry room, closet, or cupboard. The also need to be kept away from onions. Onions actually cause potatoes to sprout sooner which is only useful if you plan to plant your potatoes.

Instead store them with an apple. Apples (along with many other fruits) release ethylene gas, which in this case helps to keep the potatoes fresh and firm. So if you are buying a big bulk bag, be sure to toss an apple in to keep them fresh as long as possible.

Aside from apples, many other fruits also emit ethylene gas like; apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, bananas, avocados, peaches, nectarines, pears and plumbs. All of these fruits need to be kept away from your green vegetables as they will rot faster.

Stone fruits like avocados, peaches, etc. will continue to ripen at room temperature so once they are ripened put them in the fridge (away from the veg) to preserve them until they are ready to be eaten.

Fruit like grapes, oranges and berries should be stored in the fridge.

Treat your greens like flowers.

When you buy fresh herbs, broccoli, celery among others, storing them in water will keep them fresher and firmer longer than just storing them in a crisper drawer.

4. Revive Food That Appears Near Death

Have wilty, sad lettuce? Bendy carrots or broccoli? Floppy kale? If you didn’t store your veggies correctly and they get to this point, don’t despair and don’t throw anything in the compost, yet!

When it comes to celery, kale with stems, broccoli, bendy carrots, or brussels sprouts on a stem; they all can be revived by putting them in a jar of water and leaving them in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. They will perk back up and be ready to go.

If you have loose lettuce leaves or strawberries with a bit of mushy spots, grab a bowl of ice water and leave them for 20-30 minutes and the leaves will crisp back up and the strawberries will look good as new.

Use the leftover water to water you plants as the water will be filled with vitamins and nutrients that your plants will love.

Stale bread?

Throw it in a blender or food processor with some herbs and you have yummy bread crumbs. You can also run a stale loaf under the tap to moisten and toss it in a warm oven for a few minutes and it should soften back up!

5. Your Freezer is Your Friend

If you bulk buy fruit or vegetables and then think, “whoops, not sure I can actually use all or this,” your next thought should be your freezer.

Freezing extra food is easy and with a couple tips, the unfreezing process is even easier.

Grab some sheet pans and a silicon baking mat.

If you buy, say, one of those 5 kilo packs of chicken breasts, you might be able to eat some right away, but not all of it.

So, remove the breasts you won’t be using immediately from the packaging and lay them on the sheet pan not touching each other. Let them freeze for a few hours or overnight then package them in one large container. You can then remove what you need without having a huge chunk of chicken frozen together.

This tray method also works with cut up veg. When you freeze items individually first they will stay separated once you store them in a container making it easier to remove just the portion you need.

Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower need to be blanched first or they will turn into a weird mush when they thaw.

Freezing your flour for a couple days before storing it in the cupboard will increase it’s shelf life and prevent any weevils from hatching.

You can even store the bulk Starbucks coffee you bought your husband for Christmas (haha, me!) in the freezer to prolong its life.

If done right you can freeze just about anything to keep it from ending up in the bin before you can use it.

6. Use Your Food Scraps

You may have seen the genius of regrowing food scraps in water. Veggies like lettuce, cabbage, celery, spring onions, carrot tops, bok choy, and several others can be regrown by keeping the ends in a jar water in a spot that gets some sun. In a few days you will see them growing back.

vegetables that percolate, tips to reduce food waste in water

You do eventually need to transplant them to soil after about 4 weeks or they will stop growing any further, but it’s a great way to save money and easy enough for me to be successful (which says a lot given my black thumb).

You can also save scraps from celery, onions, and carrots in a bag in the freezer. Once you have enough you can make your own vegetable stock before sending the scraps to your compost heap (if you have one).

Broccoli stems, cauliflower leaves and carrot leaves are all edible. I knew about the broccoli, but the leaves blew my mind.

Broccoli and cauliflower stems can be cut up and roasted or used in soups. The leaves of the cauliflower can be treated just like cabbage leaves and steamed or roasted. Carrot leaves make a yummy pesto.

Egg shells can be crumpled and added to your plants. If you have veggies growing, broken egg shells around the plant can keep slugs out.

Potato peelings? Roast them with salt and pepper for some homemade crisps.

7. Compost

Composting is a great way to reduce food waste in a way that isn’t toxic for the environment.

When food is thrown in the bin and heads to landfill, it will be trapped in a way that as it decomposes it will release methane gas which is one of the worst greenhouse gases.

However, in a proper compost heap the food scraps will break down with proper exposure to air leaving you with lovely compost to use in your garden in about a year that saves waste and saves you money.

Some councils are piloting food waste programs, so it would be a good idea to check with your council to see if they have plans for such a scheme.

8. Best Before vs. Use By Dates

We often take the dates on the packaging so seriously that if the clock strikes midnight on the day after the date on the package, the carriage turns back into a pumpkin and everything is suddenly rotten.

It’s just not true.

For many food Best By or Best Before just means that there is a set amount of time that the perfect quality of that food can be expected. You can use the food past the date, but it might not be as fresh tasting.

Use by dates are a little different in that there will be some ingredients that only last so long before bacteria grows and you risk getting sick.

Use your nose, it’s usually the best indicator if something is off.

For something like eggs, grab a glass of water and gently plop the egg in. If it sinks, it’s totally fine. If it sinks but stands up, use it because it won’t last much longer. If it’s bobbing or floating, it’s no good.

9. Have the Right Tools so You Can Get Every Last Bit

Getting to the end of the peanut butter jar or the tube of tomato puree may just seem like, “ok, I’m done,” but most likely there is another servings worth in there that will be rinsed away or thrown away.

Having a small silicone spatula is the greatest tool for scraping the bowl when you are baking, but it also can scrape the sides of a nut butter jar better than any knife can. When I ate peanut butter sandwiches daily (yes, I have the palate of a 5 year old), I found I could get one or two extra servings just by scraping down the sides.

The metal tubes of tomato puree that become impossible to squeeze towards the end, can be salvaged with a tube key. The key gives you the extra leverage to make sure you get everything out. You can also use it for toothpaste tubes and nappy cream tubes as well.

Keep glass jars for storing half used produce like tomatoes or onions. If you don’t have glass jars or small containers on hand, you could try silicone lids which are a great replacement for plastic clingfilm.

These three tools that make sure you get your money’s worth and keep food from being wasted.

10. Write an Email to Your Food Shops

No, this is not glamorous stuff here, but the fact is that if enough of us write to our shops things will get done.

Does anyone remember the April Fools Sainsbury’s video by Greenpeace? The video caught so much traction it was trending on twitter and led to several execs having to change their phone numbers because of all the phone calls from frustrated customers. The actions of the people led to Sainsburys pledging to reduce their plastic by half by 2025.

Most of the big supermarkets signed a pledge in 2019 to reduce food waste, but signing a pledge and taking action are two different things and what we want to see is more transparency. Are the chains really making good of their pledge?

I know you may feel like you can’t change anything as one person, but that didn’t stop Greta Thunberg.

Be like Greta.

Use your voice for good.

Here’s an email template you can use to give you a head start (no sign up required, just download it). All you have to do is look up the contact info for your local shops or their corporate headquarters and ask them for proof of their actions to reduce food waste.

And, a bonus tip…Don’t be afraid of the wonky vegetables. 

Take action to start reducing your food waste today!

Applying any of these tips to your food routine will help you reduce your food waste and potentially save you time and money. Giving number 10 a go is a good way to get some action from the shops. I hope you give them a try. Let me know in the comments below if you have found other ways to reduce your food waste.