The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new campaign to encourage people to take a simple action to reduce food waste, by freezing surplus food before its use-by date.
A recent EPA survey, conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes, found that 68 per cent of people still say ‘passing use-by dates’ is the top reason they throw out food at home. It found that 75 per cent of the population understand that use-by dates are a deadline, and over 80 per cent check them to ensure food is still safe to eat. The EPA suggest that freezing food is an easy way to stop wasting food and save money. Food waste currently costs the average Irish household up to €700 per year.
Freezing surplus food before it passes the use-by date can help both the environment and your budget, according to Mary Frances Rochford, Programme Manager in the Office of Environmental Sustainability:
“We are calling on everyone to support and share our Eat It or Freeze It campaign on social media, and take a simple action to stop food waste. Irish households produce over 250,000 tonnes of food waste per year, at a cost of €700 per household. In addition, wasted food is a significant contributor to climate change – responsible for about 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting food waste reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides real savings for householders.”
Environmental Scientist at the EPA, Odile Le Bolloch, explains:
“If you don’t get to eat it, freezing food is an action we can start straight away. Over half of people do not realise that you can freeze food right up to its use-by date, but many of us can reduce our food waste through freezing. It is a great way to make food last longer – it acts just like a pause button, allowing food to be eaten at another time.”
A lot of different types of foods can be frozen, whether it’s the extra loaf of bread you bought or the cooked pasta you want to use for lunch later in the week. The survey showed that bread is one of the most wasted foods in Ireland, and when it comes to freezing it is the most versatile – the whole loaf can be frozen when you buy it, or just the last few slices at the end of the bag. You can find out how to freeze all of your favourite foods, learn about food date marking, and access resources to help reduce food waste in the home by visiting the Stop Food Waste website at https://stopfoodwaste.ie/.