Food waste is one of our most pressing challenges in the UK – globally we waste a third of everything we produce, and more than 53 million loaves of bread a year go in the bin in the UK alone. But it’s an issue we can ALL do something about, with a bit of knowledge, some handy recipes and being better prepared.
We partnered with our friends at Karma to discuss ways we can get to know more about food waste, and empowering ways to make a difference in our daily lives.
Karma is the app that helps you rescue unsold food from restaurants and grocery stores before it’s wasted and ends up in the bin. Since launching the start-up in Sweden in 2016, Karma has more than 725,000 users and 5,200 retail partners across Europe. Karma is dedicated to battling one of the world’s largest climate issues: food waste.
What is the impact of food waste?
Little actions can make a massive difference when trying to tackle food waste. Since launching in November 2016, Karma’s users have diverted an average of 485 tonnes of edible food from landfill and reduced CO2 levels caused by food waste by 725 tonnes.
According to the UN, an area larger than China, and 25% of the world’s freshwater supply is used to grow food that is never eaten, costing the average family in the UK over £700 a year.
Four changes for the better
As we all wake up to our global food waste issues and are bombarded with stats (like UK households wasting £13 billion worth of food every year, according to WRAP), the problem can seem insurmountable.
But there are lots of small changes you can make at home to stop wasting food that mounts up.
Buy your dry ingredients in bulk
Originally, Karma launched in 3 markets; Sweden (2016), UK (2018) & France (2019). Today, 5% of the Swedish population use Karma. It’s only a matter of time before London follows suit. Nevertheless, the UK has quickly embraced the zero waste life, with over 90 shops across the country. Londoners even have their first zero-waste market in Hackney, Bulk Market.
Bulk Market sells over 300 brandless products, both fresh and dried products will be weighed out according to what you need and it will also sell natural and organic non-food products. Want a tiny slice of cheese or just two locally laid, farm fresh eggs? No problem. Just bring something to take them home in (but don’t panic because there will also be steel boxes to buy – there’s no plastic anywhere in the store).
Until the day the packaging industry can offer a truly sustainable solution, the best way of tackling the packaging waste is avoiding it as the devil – and whatever you cannot avoid, reduce, reuse or recycle. For every disposable item, there is a reusable option.
Get creative with your food
So you succumbed to that value pack of courgettes and now you’ve got seven sat in the fridge. Or you went for the mega value tub of yoghurt which you’re worried is now fermenting into kefir on your watch. What are you going to do? Hands down the best tool for you could be BBC Food website.
Their search facility enables you to search for two or three ingredients at a time and gives you recipe ideas that include them. Suddenly courgettes + yoghurt = Courgette pancakes with spiced Greek yoghurt or Broad bean and courgette pilaf. Much more appetising.
Eat smart when you go out
Are you out and about, and hunger strikes? Karma is the best option to rescue food when on the go. You can shop from your favourite joints for half price (or more). Lunchtime heroes, here we come. From delicious breakfast cakes to burgers, Karma features some of the best restaurants in town. If you are looking to take a date out for a joint meal, plenty of London restaurants offer greener options that are good for you (and the planet). Over the last few years Chef Dan Barber of Selfridge’s’ launched a pop-up restaurant called WastED, mixologist Rich Woods started making cocktails with waste food for London’s Duck & Waffle and over 50 London restaurants now incorporate ways to a greener and more sustainable way of sourcing foods.
Head to Karma and find other incredible eateries such as Detox Kitchen, Deliciously Ella and many others, championing a more sustainable way of feeding the City. A HBC team favourite on the Karma app is Redemption Bar. Redemption’s menu by default champions a sustainable plate. The restaurant is 100% vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and alcohol-free:
“We try to reduce the impact of a modern restaurant but carefully choosing our suppliers aligned with our values, we do not use any plastic take away packaging and use sustainable partners for waste collection and recycling.”
From transforming stale sourdough into fancy cheese crackers to using the whey from burrata-making to produce delicious sodas, chefs and bartenders are tackling food waste in creative (and tasty) ways. Among our favourites shines one of Karma’s restaurants Bean & Wheat, a Shoreditch café set up to use surplus ingredients from the neighbouring restaurant The Frog Hoxton. Think cauliflower-stalk salads.
Invest in smart swaps
We do believe that a smarter way to store your food is a great way to make it last for longer. Instead of relying on single-use plastic, look into better alternatives for the environment (which have the added bonus of keeping your food fresher for longer!).
Bee wraps are not just all about the hype. There is much more to them than what you think. The combination of natural ingredients with the organic cotton fabric allows our wraps to breathe, making sure your food stays fresh for longer. You will find that when wrapped in our Beeswax Wraps you will get 3-4 more days out of your loaf of bread, your greens and herbs will stay nice and crunchy for at least a week and your sandwiches won’t be all sweaty when you unwrap them come lunchtime. Winning!
Do you have a lunchbox, yet no lunch? UK supermarket Marks and Spencer have launched a discount for customers who bring their own lunchboxes into stores. The new scheme will incentivise customers to bring their own reusable containers to M&S’ Market Place by offering a 25p discount off each meal. You will be able to fill reusable containers with a variety of hot and cold lunch-to-go options, including rotisserie chicken and freshly prepared salads.
Londoners can now refill their reusable bottles in one of the new refill stations. The initiative, called ‘Refill London’ is part of a very special partnership between the Mayor of London and Thames Water. The initiative saw 100 drinking water fountains installed in busy and accessible areas of London. You can even find your nearest drinking water fountain and the 2,500+ other Refill Stations in London, download the Refill app.
Are you looking to start saving food from being wastes? Download Karma today and get £5 off your first order.