Did you know that 40% of all food in the US is wasted? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a goal of cutting food waste to about 109 pounds per person by 2030. Compare this to the 2010 baseline of about 219 pounds per person. There are several other steps we can each take at home and in our everyday routines as well.
1 Grocery shopping
You can start minimizing waste from the pre-purchase stage of the food chain. Create a shopping list of ingredients and stick to it. Plan a week’s worth of meals to prepare. Then, buy exactly what and precisely how much you need for each meal.
In contrast, with preserved items, look for bulk deals, but make sure you buy in amounts that you can use before the expiration date.
2 Meal prep and eating habits
You’re eating habits can also play a part in increasing your food waste. Besides listing the ingredients you’ll need, note the foods you already have in the cupboard and fridge and cook with what you have. With the leftovers, save them for later or add them to other meals you’re preparing.
Make a list of things you’ll throw away soon. If the freezer can help you preserve some of those items, then move it there instead of the bin.
When dining out at a restaurant, ask about portion sizes and get the leftovers packed for home. Additionally, you might consider asking the waiter to split one large entree onto two plates for you and your partner to share. Or, if you’re not very hungry, you could choose two smaller appetizers instead of one large entree.
3 Food storage
Learning how to store food is important because it helps you save money and avoid food contamination. For instance, fruits like ripening bananas should be kept separate from other fruits and vegetables because they release gases that can spoil other foods.
Canning fruits and vegetables can make them last a long time. Modern pressure cookers make this process fairly easy. Here are some tips for home canning your fruits and veggies.
Also, make sure your refrigerator and freezer are functioning properly to keep the food items at the right temperature. If it’s not, hire a local professional by researching the best appliance repair in your area.
4 Donations and food gifts
Search for local food banks and donate surplus items from your pantry. AmpleHarvest is a resource that connects donors to food pantries nationwide. Sharing food is also a very neighborly gesture. Next time you make too many cookies, wrap them up and send them across the street to a neighbor.
5 Stay organized
Living in the age of artificial intelligence is helpful when it comes to solving the food waste problem. Use an app to keep track of what you consume and when. The Eatby App provides you with an inventory of your food and its shelf-life based on your unique storage environment.
With every appliance replacement comes the question of what to do with the old appliance.
You don’t want the replaced appliance taking up space, but you also want to get rid of it in a useful and environmentally friendly way. After all, unlike managing your own plastic use, appliance removal will involve trusting the recycling practices of others. If you’re wondering how to get rid of the old refrigerator or microwave, consider the following disposal options.
1. Use a dumpster rental or trash removal service
If you have several appliances to remove, along with other items, consider renting a dumpster. Dumpsters are available in small and large sizes, and renting will allow you to remove on your on schedule. Once the dumpster has all the disposed items, ask the trash removal service to come for the pickup. To ensure proper removal, confirm how the trash removal company takes care of appliances – whether they go to recycling or some other place.
2. Let the installation company take it
If you are replacing the old appliance with a new one, check with the installers if they accept used appliances. If the item you’re removing is a refrigerator of some type, then ask the installer if they are in the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program. RAD is run by the Environmental Protection Agency and its partners include retailers, manufacturers, etc. The program was launched in October 2006 and so far it has recycled 7 million refrigerated appliances.
3. Call your city or utility company
Contact your city to ask if and what type of appliances they collect for disposal and recycling. Many cities have designated collection spots where residents can take their old appliances. The city may charge for the service, and collection may be only be available on certain days of the week.
Many utility companies are also part of EPA’s RAD program. These companies may also offer incentives to recyclers. Contact your local utility provider to find out if they can help with appliance removal.
4. Sell it or give it away
If it’s still in working condition, try selling the appliance online as a used product or scrap the useful parts. List it on Craigslist and other local sites. Join relevant social media groups, like Facebook Marketplace, and post your items there.
Alternatively, arrange a yard sale and advertise it on social media and in the neighborhood. If clearing the place is more important than money, then offer it to them for free. Of course, you can’t guarantee removal with this option, but it’s definitely worth a try.
You can also donate it to a local church or nonprofit, which will satisfy your New Year’s resolutions of being more eco-friendly and philanthropic.
…but it has a powerful message worth thinking about (and acting on) this Christmas. Originally made for Greenpeace, but adopted by Iceland, as this year’s seasonal campaign, it has failed to meet the criteria for being suitable on British TV (bureaucratic nonsense) but it’s generating the publicity anyway!
Beautifully made and highly emotive, the short film is well worth sharing.. so here it is…
– although, so far it has been unseasonably warm this year. But when the weather eventually turns cold and damp we go straight into wither mode in our household – and that involve a change in clothes (obviously), the central heating is turned on (as late as feasibly possible), and our meal menu swaps from salads to warming winter comfort foods.
Cereal or a slice of toast for breakfast is swapped for a bowl of porridge. Warming soup with a crusty role becomes a lunchtime favourite and the evening meals tend to be something slow cooked or oven baked. As lovely as it is to cosy up for the onset of winter, the costs sky rocket – not to mention the calories!
It’s this time of year where making an effort to reduce our food waste in our family makes the most difference to reducing our grocery bills. It’s too easy to be tempted by all the wonderful treats and offers in the supermarket. But Staying sensible is important for two reasons – it reduces the amount we spend at the checkout counter – and it means we’re less likely to over buy food, and consequently waste less food.
But being sensible while grocery shopping is easier said than done! We use a few methods. Firstly, I make sure I never go shopping on an empty tummy. If I’m feeling in the least bit hungry I tend to buy more – especially snacks and unnecessary goodies.
Taking a shopping list is the most effective way of reducing cost. That way, we tend only to buy what we need. Making a daily meal list is something we’ve been having success with lately. We make a loose plan and buy just what we need for meals to a set number of days.
Our research has led us to understand that it is impossible to suggest a “one solution fits all” for reducing household food waste. Everyone’s circumstances are different. But in most cases, simply being aware makes a big difference. Certainly using our EatBy App is helpful too!
Anyway, the title of this post mentions Halloween. Which brings me onto the subject of making lanterns out of pumpkins. It’s a fun tradition and we’ve always enjoyed carving a face and hollowing out “the brains” with our young son. But it’s hard to imagine how much pumpkin food goes to waste if the insides are not used as part of the halloween meal or in a soup on November 1st.
We have some great recipes here on this blog – also available on our app. My favourite is the soup (below).
Stay warm and keep safe,
Barbara and Steffan.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Pumpkin Quesadilla Recipe
Plastic pollution is making headlines at the moment.
Here at EatBy we’re obviously mad keen that the use of plastic packaging is reduced across all industries – not just food. And, yes, we’re delighted to see that the media has jumped onto the”reduce plastic packaging” bandwagon. Here in the UK the government is attempting to ban various disposable plastic items such as drinking straws. It’s become a farcical race to between the British and European governments to ban drinking straws in order to prove which administration can do something with the least amount of bureaucratic man hours. As crazy as it seems that MEPs and MPs are measuring their political aptitude with drinking straws it is, at least, a positive start.
We’re keeping a close eye on the developments in the packaging of pre-prepared meals – more specifically the black plastic containers that can be used in the microwave. These containers are made from plastic that is currently not recyclable. There are some manufacturers who are using alternatives, including bamboo and cardboard. These are still the minority and tend only to be used on premium products. The UK grocery store, Iceland, must be congratulated for making the pledge to completely cut plastic packaging over the next few years. Aldi is also selling non premium ready meals in greener packaging. We hope it’s only a matter of time before these alternatives become mainstream. And as you’ll soon see, will be doing our bit to encourage the transit over the next few years as our business moves into its next phase.
However, plastic should not be shunned completely for the moment. It still has its uses! Especially when it comes to reducing food waste. It should be mentioned that disposable plastic items such as drinking straws, shopping bags and disposable non recyclable packaging are the enemy. Reusable containers and recyclable plastic products must continue to play an important role in maintaining sustainability.
Personally, I would like to see a return re-use containers, just like the glass milk bottles and drinks bottles that were commonplace when I was a kid back in the 70s/80s. But recycling is OK when it’s done properly.
The vast majority of plastic packaging and containers have a recycling code somewhere. You’d be in a minority group if you understand these. Most people just want to know that it’s recyclable so it goes into the recycle bin. For the geeky reader, Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive list of these codes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recycling_codes
Packaging is generally designed to keep your food in good condition during transit and storage. But fresh foods quite often don’t come packaged or the packaging is inadequate. Storing food in optimum conditions is one way to make food last longer while it’s stored in your fridge or cupboards. Using the correct containers may prolong the life of your food and help you organise your food storage which also leads to reduced food waste. While there are a number of alternatives to plastic, these alternatives lack the durability of plastic. But it’s important to weigh the benefits of durability against the possible damage to the environment and the health risks posed by some plastic containers.
Using storage containers in your kitchen.
If you choose to use plastic Tupperware type containers for food storage it is recommended to look out for and avoid BPA (Bisphenol A) and BPS (bisphenol S) plastics. BPS was developed to replace BPA but it turns out it is’t much safer! Many manufactures make a point of stating their products are BPA/BPS free. But also look out for chemicals called phthalates (OMG its a plastic minefield!) These chemicals are used as plasticisers to make products more flexible or sturdy – but research has found they could also be harmful.
A search on Google will produce loads of info on these badboy chemicals but a good rule of thumb is that plastic containers should only be used for dry items in chilled or room temperature conditions and shouldn’t be used to cook, heat or freeze. At the end of the day, your gran, if she lived ’till 98, most probably used Tupperware containers containing BPA. All I’m saying, yes, better to avoid risky plastics, especially where our children are concerned, but I’m being pragmatic about it too. Going back to the recycle codes, plastics with codes 1,2,4 and 5 tend to be pretty safe.
Anyway, there are some brilliant food storage containers that are safe to use and easily available on Amazon (and on other stores but we’re Prime members and Amazon seems hard to beat!)
I’ve added some info below about some we’ve tried and like.
Pyrex Simply Store.
These high are quality glass containers with simple snap on lids. Great for keeping food fresh and the glass is particularly robust. These come at the top of my list because they’re oven, microwave fridge/freezer and dishwasher proof. They’re a little more pricy than some but you get the quality you’d expect and a two year warranty and replacement lids are available too. Maybe I’m swayed by the Pyrex name and the history of a company that’s supplied glass kitchenware for eons. But there’s a lot to be said for trusting a name you know.
Glasslock Oven Safe
The Glasslock Oven Safe range is actually just as good as the Pyrex range. They come a close second simply because I prefer the less bulky lids on the Pyrex range with makes a small difference when they’re in a fridge – the contents are easier to see in the Pyrex containers. But if you prefer a a splash of colour and a bombproof click seal on your containers then these will give you quite a thrill. The lock down latches undoubtedly offer more secure than the pyrex lids and the content is visible through the lid.
Borosilicate Glass Cylinder Airtight Food Storage
These are perfect as functional ornamental storage jars – because they’re rather nice to look at. The lid is made from bamboo with an airtight silicone seal. So they’re almost completely plastic free. Obviously they’re not designed for heating food and the lids can’t be used in the dishwasher. But we love them for storing dry foods like rice and pasta – especially the fancy coloured pasta which looks a bit artisan on a shelf and you kinda remember to use it when it’s in view.
Collapse-It Silicone Containers
These are really great for a number of reasons. Firstly they’re made of silicone which is pretty safe (FDA approved) but they’re also collapse/fold flat(ish). They’re so robust you can take them out of the freezer and put them straight into the oven! So, form our point of view they’re the perfect way to store cooked food for later- which is a great way to reduce food waste. In our opinion they’re not particular attractive. But does that matter when they’re in your freezer?
Re-usable Silicon Storage Bags
These are great for freezing food. Just like the tubs above, they are freezer, oven, microwave, dishwasher, boil in a pan and even toaster proof! There’s no fillers, coating, BPA, BPS, BPF, PVC, phthalates, or any the unpleasant chemicals. The seal is pretty good – it has a kind of clamp rather than a zip. But there’s a word of warning – if you microwave something in them be sure to open the seal a little if you want to avoid cleaning up a minor explosion!
Otherwise, these are amazing. there’s a link here to Amazon’s choose – but they’re available from many suppliers at different prices so do a search if they’re not on offer.
These are just some we like but there are hundreds of other Food Storage Containers available.
Remember that whatever container you use it’s always a good idea to note when you put in in the fridge, freezer or cupboard. Using labels, posit notes or writing on the container with a dry-wipe pen is sensible. And of course, our EatBy App will remind you of the food you have stored in the kitchen!
If you have any other recommendations be sure to let is know.
But some of these containers are Plastic!
Yes, but the main cause of plastic pollution is packaging. Single use packaging is thrown away. Most in the UK is sent to landfill or recycled. But some ends up in the ocean. And around the world the problem is much worse.
But plastic packaging is a recent phenomenon. We did without it for millennia! When I was a kid (not too many decades ago) food was bought from shops – fruit and veg from the green grocer, meat from a butcher. And most things were wrapped in paper – yes, paper. Can you believe that. Paper.
Once home items were transferred into containers. I’m sure you can see why multi use containers can reduce plastic waste even if they, themselves, may contain plastics. We are very interested to see how the supply of food evolves to accommodate the trend to reduce plastic pollution.
And may it continue.
EatBy has moved onto new UK based servers this month and the process is now complete. The benefits of the move have enabled us to fully comply with the new UK data protection standards, especially in anticipation of the whole Brexit challenge. We have chosen Krystal to host our business because their servers are powered completely by renewable sources.
Besides being able to joke about having our back end powered by wind, the move to a greener supplier is more appropriate and fits well with our own goals of encouraging sustainable living.
Please send us a message if you would like to know more about going green for your hosting or any other part of your business- we’re becoming quite knowledgable about it and are happy to help.
Steffan and Barbara
We’ve been putting your fantastic feedback over the last year to good use – And we’ve been working hard at developing the next generation of the app with a view to making a bigger impact on reducing food waste.
We’ve got big plans ahead but we need your help…
We’re compiling a survey to help us with a feasibility study and we need a good number of people to answer it honestly so we can assess if we are onto something or not. I’m not putting a link here because we know what happens when surveys are publicly online – all sorts of spam bots sort attacking the system. But if you would kindly send me a message using the form below I’ll reply to you with a link.
Then if you could share that link with people it’d be a brilliant help!
Thank you in advance,
Steffan and Barbara
Yes, the holiday season has returned and our fridges are packed full of festive food and goodies.
We love Christmas – especially all the wonderful food. But it’s also the time of year when massive amounts of food are wasted because we’ve bought just too much – and stuff is so easily forgotten at the back of your fridge! The EatBy App is the ideal tool that will help you keep track of your food over the Christmas period and into the New Year. We’ve made some seriously good updates to the app this year to help you get organised. Our mission is to help you save money and reduce the amount of food we all waste.
But don’t forget that the EatBy App is not just for Christmas! Using the app consistently as your shopping list and kitchen inventory throughout the year will help to save enough money to pay for next year’s festive menu.
Here’s some great tips to help you save money and waste less food this year.
Remember your freezer?
Uneaten food will remain fresh for much longer in your freezer. Unopened freezable food can be frozen any time before the Use By or expiry date. Don’t let food go bad in the fridge when it could be frozen. The EatBy App will remind you when food is expiring in the fridge. It might be the ideal time to freeze it. Always check the packaging – but most fresh food – Including the leftovers of that massive Christmas selection of cheeses – can be frozen and used later. You can update food in your app to show that it’s now in the freezer so you don’t forget it in there. If you put cooked or fresh food into freezer bags remember to also write on the bag with a marker pen so you can see what it is and when you put it into the freezer.
Cooking with leftovers is brilliant!
Fry up those leftover vegetables in a Bubble and Squeak – chopped cooked brussel sprouts are especially good in a bubble and squeak. Served with parched egg and bacon it’s delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Bread and butter pudding can be made with leftover cake for an especially indulgent and delicious pudding. Just replace the stale bread with stale sponge cake or stollen! Honestly – it’s amazing.
One of the Eatby App’s new features is a recipe finder that shows delicious recipes to use up leftover food.
Share your food.
If you have more food than you can eat – invite friends and family over to help you eat it – the more the merrier in our book!
There are also some great food sharing apps around such as Olio in the UK. – Christmas is a time for sharing, after all.
Wishing you a joyous Christmas and a fabulous New Year,
Steff, Barbara and the rest of the EatBy App team.
Our Bubble and Squeak recipe can be found here…
Our bread and butter pudding recipe can be found here…
As part of our education programme due to be rolled out in the U.K. during 2018 we have developed a fun bunch of food characters called the Yunicons. The Yumicons app is free and available on the Apple App store. The app allows children (and anyone else) to create images and cartoons using the Yumicons or to create their own character using food stickers and a whole bunch of other bit and pieces like eyes, mouths and silly hats. The characters can either be added to photos and selfies or used to make comic strips using the provided royalty free images to share with friends and on social media.
An education version of the app is soon to be provided to schools to help children grasp the benefits of eating food while it is fresh and the importance of reducing the amount of food we waste. The app currently available is designed to be used by anyone who just wants a bit of creative fun! So why not download it now and have a go?
For information about the Yumicons visit the website www.Yumicons.com or download the app athe the App Store.
Encouraging kids to Eat Fresh and Waste Less –
In addition to developing the Next Generation EatBy Smart Kitchen App, we’ve been busy behind the scenes with something fun… the Yumicons App.
As part of our educational package, Yumicons are a daft, fun way of engaging kids and adults – but mostly kids, but then we’ve been trying the beta app versions – too much fun – so really adults also – but originally designed for kids. Anyway, I digress.
From trumpifying turnips to crowning cauliflowers, kids are going to love sharing their 5-a-Day successes.
Yumicon creations will be limitless using our stand alone sticker app. The Next Generation EatBy App incorporates a kids mode featuring the Yumicons with an awesome surprise (again, that adults will be completely addicted to too;)
“When will the Yumicon App be available?” We hear you yell.
We’re rolling out the stand alone Yumicons app on the App Store and Google Play very soon. You’ll have to wait a little for the Next Generation EatBy App to see how they’ll feature and the mischief they’ll get up to.
Right now you’ll find a ‘taster’ selection of Yumicons stickers on the App Store Here.
As with the current EatBy App they cost a little on the stores – but, at the moment, ALL money raised is rolled back into the development of EatBy App’s services so we can continue to evolve and improve.
The Yumicons app will be bulk discounted for education. Information on how to do this will be available on release.
As part of our Waste Less education package/programme we’ll soon be looking for brilliant, fun loving individuals to join our adventure. You’ll be visiting schools, talking about food waste and how to prevent it. If you’re interested and want to know more then please add your details in the contact form here. Please remember to tell us where you live! When we get round to launching the education programme (quite soon now) we’ll send you information and let you know how to apply.
The latest iOS version of the EatBy App has been released for all Apple devices. It’s more stable and has two more features, a screen shot function and information from within the food page.
As stated in our previous blog post:
“There’s a new share button on the “My Kitchen” screen (“My Pantry” for some users) which takes a screenshot of the visible items to be shared with family or even on social media. Ideal to remind family that something needs to be eaten up!
The second great innovation is the addition of information available from the individual items’ screen. An info button will appear by the item description if additional storage, product or manufacture’s information is available. We’ll be adding this information to our servers over the coming months.”
We’re happy that the good folk at Apple have reviewed and released version 2.3.2
Your EatBy App should automatically update but for those of you who needed to remove the app from your device – it is now ready to be reinstalled. Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who has given us feedback and for helping us to improve the app.
We are pleased to announce the release of Update 2.2 for iOS devices. This release is due on the App Store later this week and addresses a problem some users have reported, particularly an issue with the app freezing after the latest iOS update. We’ve been working on EatBy App for Apple devices and the beta tests have shown this new update to be extremely stable. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this bug has caused to any of our users and are grateful to everyone who’ve taken the time to get in touch with us with feedback and ideas.
We’ve also cleaned up the interface a little and added 2 great new features:
- There’s a new share button on the “My Kitchen” screen (“My Pantry” for some users) which takes a screenshot of the visible items to be shared with family or even on social media. Ideal to remind family that something needs to be eaten up!
- The second great innovation is the addition of information available from the individual items’ screen. An info button will appear by the item description if additional storage, product or manufacture’s information is available. We’ll be adding this information to our servers over the coming months.
Further news will be released later this year about exciting really big new developments here at EatBy App as we continue to move forward with our Smart Kitchen concept. We can’t wait to tell you about it!
In the mean time we hope you continue to enjoy using our EatBy app to help manage your kitchen, grocery lists, to reduce costs and food waste.
Steffan and Barbara
To help you celebrate Earth Day 2017 and reduce food waste we’re offering EatBy App for free on the App Store this weekend!
April 22 marks Earth Day 2017 when over a billion people celebrate our unique and wonderful planet with thousands of organised events.
Earth Day has been celebrated on the 22nd of April for nearly fifty years since the first organised in America in 1970. Credited by some as the beginning of todays movement of environmental awareness, Earth Day is now an global event coordinated by the Earth Day Network.
This year Earth Day is particularly poignant to many around the world as President Trump threatens to pull out of the Paris Agreement signed by 196 countries. But it’s not just the responsibility of the world leaders to reduce our impact on the environment. We at EatBy are committed to developing technology that enables us all to do our bit to reduce food waste. Food waste is even more damaging to the environment than industrial CO2 emissions as over production of food puts a direct strain on our planet’s sustainability. Using our app is a great way to reduce food waste and save on grocery bills. EatBy App is usually priced at £2.99 on the App Store. All money raised by App Store sales are currently rolled back into the development of our technology behind the scenes, including AI and supply chain optimisation. However, this weekend the EatBy App is free on the App Store as part of our celebration of Earth Day.
Download it now and benefit from the updates as we develop the App. New updates will be available over the coming weeks.
We are proud to present the Yumicons, Both fun and educational these crazy food characters are the latest addition to our artillery in the war against food waste and a great way to encourage kids to eat fresh and healthy food.
The Yumicons have been designed to bring a smile to children and adults. A new creative app is on it’s way featuring the Yumicons and an array of fun packed features. The launch of the app later this year will coincide with the introduction of an educational pack about food production and how we can all reduce the amount we waste.
In the mean time a selection of Yumicon Fun Food Stickers are available for iMessages on the App Store. We are pleased to see that the Yumicons have already become an instant success, helping us to spread the word about about the EatBy App.
Visit the App Store to download the iMessage Stickers: