Sixty per cent of Westmeath people throw away food regularly, according to a research survey of 1,100 people conducted by STOP Food Waste. In fact, 30 per cent of the food we buy ends up in the bin, costing up to €1,000 per household per year in food waste.
Despite almost all Westmeath respondents (98 per cent ) admitting to being bothered about throwing out food, one in five of those surveyed are doing little or nothing to prevent it. The average person throws out almost 300kg of black bin rubbish each year, and about one third of this waste is food waste. This is the equivalent of 3,750 apples. Research suggests that if we managed to prevent generating some of this waste and also composted and recycled at home we could reduce our rubbish by almost 70 per cent.
The extensive survey also revealed the main foods that are regularly thrown out in Westmeath homes are fruits - apples, bananas, and grapes - and vegetables - lettuce, potatoes, and carrots. Other foods regularly thrown out include bread and bread rolls, condiments (spreads, jams, relishes, sauces ), yoghurts, dairy desserts and food leftovers.
Stop Food Waste research showed that over half of Westmeath people (60 per cent ) buy more food than needed when shopping. Subsequently, the most common reason for throwing out food is not consuming it before use-by dates. This is further evidence that planning ahead and smart shopping can prevent food waste and save money!
“Preventing food waste starts when you go shopping. Much of the food we waste comes from ‘perishables’ - things like fruit, vegetables, and dairy products. So, when you are going shopping consider some of the food shopping tips from stopfoodwaste.ie or the Stop Food Waste Facebook page and see if you can save yourself money and reduce food waste“ said Odile Le Bolloch, Stop Food Waste spokesperson with the EPA.
The STOP Food Waste programme is funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP ). Visit www.stopfoodwaste.ie