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Calling all students! How to save money and reduce waste

In our latest blog post, interns on The University of Bristol’s Sustainability Team, Emma Lewins and Anya Kaufman, write about cutting food waste for the new cohort of Bristol students.

The new academic year is a chance to get to grips with managing your student loan and kitchen cupboards. Over lockdown, the UK wasted a third less food than we usually would. This is brilliant, as normally more than 4.5 million tonnes of edible food is wasted from UK homes every year. For students, it’s even higher. The average cost of food waste per student per week is approximately £5.25 – that’s about £273 per year! It’s not just our bank accounts that are affected by food waste – it’s our planet too.

The process of growing, making, distributing, storing and cooking our food uses masses of energy, fuel and water. It generates up to 30% of the world’s CO₂ greenhouse gas emissions. The same amount of CO₂ as 4.6 million return flights from London to Perth, Australia! So it makes sense to keep as much food out of the bin as possible, waste less and save more.

Start the new term with some food waste-busting, budget-cutting, environment-loving habits! Here are five easy ways to reduce food waste from your kitchen:

Conquer the cupboard! Before you head to the shops, check what’s in your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Make a list and stick to it! Supermarket deals are designed to get you to spend more, and often student accommodation has limited storage space.

Chill the fridge out! Turn your fridge temperature down to between 0 and 5°C to keep food fresher for longer. Having your fridge too cold can actually spoil some foods.

Freezy does it! Make the most of your freezer! You can freeze more than you think. Try bulk cooking meals like chilli or stews and freeze some portions for when you’re feeling lazy. Check out the Love Food Hate Waste A-Z of Food Storage to double-check anything.

Defrost like a boss! Once you know what’s in the freezer, it just takes a bit of forward planning to save money and avoid a last-minute dash to the shops or Deliveroo.

Use it or lose it! Get creative with your meal ideas and find ingredient swaps, recipe ideas and leftover hacks on the Love Food Hate Waste website. These are sure to impress your new friends and save you money!

For more information contact sustainability-estates@bristol.ac.uk.

It has never been so important to ensure that we only buy what we need and eat what we buy. There are many ways to minimise your food waste – take a look at our Going for Gold Food Waste Action Area to see what you can do. You can also find tips and resources on the Bristol Food Network site and see some of the highlights of the #BristolFoodKind campaign linked to food waste.

#BristolFoodKind is a collaboration between Bristol Green Capital PartnershipBristol Food NetworkBristol City Council and Resource Futures.

Visit Bristol Food Network for more information and resources on Bristol’s Good Food response to the pandemic.