Food waste

In Scotland, we waste around 988,000 tonnes of food and drink every year. Why is that and how can we stop it? Let's find out...

Why do we waste food?

Many of us buy more than we need, cook more than we are going to eat and don't use up food before it goes out of date.

What is bad about food waste?

  • Producing food uses up natural resources like water and energy. This has an impact on climate change.
  • In some countries, people go hungry because they do not have enough food.
  • We spend a lot of time shopping for food and preparing it into meals.
  • Wasting food costs us money.
  • Food waste often ends up in landfill. This is harmful for our planet.

Ideas to prevent food waste

  • Plan meals – talk about the dinners you would like to have for the week and buy only the ingredients needed.
  • Shopping list – take a list to the supermarket and stick to it. Only buy what you need.
  • Buy wonky fruit and vegetables – produce that is misshapen often gets left behind in the supermarket. It might look a little different but it tastes just as good!
  • Buy short shelf life food – shops have to throw away food when it reaches its 'Use by' date so they sometimes reduce the price to sell it quickly. It can stop waste and save money if you will eat it before it is out of date.
  • Store food correctly – wrap and chill cheese. Keep bread in a cool dark place to prevent mould. Do not store highly gaseous produce like bananas and avocados with other fruits as they will make them turn bad quicker.
  • Freeze - store food in the freezer to keep it fresh and use it later.
  • Use all your food up – use what you already have before you go shopping again. You can take leftovers for lunch or make banana bread from overripe bananas that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Compost - put fruit and veg scraps in a compost bin where possible.
Handwritten meal plan

Plan your meals

People often buy too much food and some ends up going to waste. Planning ahead means you will only buy the ingredients you need.

1 of 8

What is compost?

Compost is created from organic matter (plant waste) that breaks down naturally and transforms into nutrient-rich soil. This can occur in a compost heap or bin as long as air can circulate and rainwater can drain away.

What to put in a compost bin

  • rotting fruit and vegetables
  • grass cuttings
  • garden waste, such as dry leaves and sticks
  • eggshells
  • teabags and coffee grounds

Over time this mixture will decay, and you will be left with compost. This nutrient-rich soil can then be used to grow something new. You could start growing your own food. Easy vegetable options to begin with are lettuce, carrots, and onions.

Food waste such as animal products like meat, fat and dairy should not be put in the compost bin as these foods break down differently.

Try this short quiz to test your knowledge on food waste.

Easy recipes for kids
Banana bread recipes
Grow your own fruit and veg