There’s a shortage of tomatoes at the moment. Photo: Dani California

Take the seven day Stop Food Waste Challenge

At the moment, there are shortages of some foods like tomatoes and peppers, which makes it all the more important that we waste less food, given that vegetables and fruit are among the most wasted types of food.

Wednesday was National Stop Food Waste Day and with just under 250,000 tonnes of household food waste produced in Ireland every year, households can save around €700 a year by taking action and help reduce food waste.

This National Stop Food Waste Day the EPA has been asking people to get to know their food waste by taking the seven-day Stop Food Waste Challenge.

EPA food waste expert Odile Le Bolloch explained: “Our research shows that 88% of people believe we all have a responsibility to minimise the food we throw away, so first things first – do you know what food you waste the most? For National Food Stop Food Waste Day, we are challenging you to record your food waste for one week.

“You could keep a pen and pad by the food waste bin to take note of the food you waste each time you use it, or keep track using the notes app on your phone. You could also use the Weekly Food Waste Recording Sheet on the website. At the end of the week, tally up your results and see which types of food you wasted the most. By knowing what food you waste, you can see where you can take action and make savings on your food bill.”

According to EPA research, the types of food that people waste the most are bread (41%), fruit (39%), and vegetables (38%).

Odile continues: “Once you have identified your most wasted food types, you can take action. You can buy less, store it better, eat it or freeze it. If plans change, or you have too much, freezing food is one of the easiest ways to preserve it, and the types of food that can be frozen are endless, including the most wasted food – bread.

“Storing fruit and vegetables properly will keep them fresh for longer. You can store apples in the fridge so they last longer, up to a month – or use over-ripe fruit to whizz up a quick and delicious smoothie.”

She added: “Try to only buy the amount you need - a large bag of spuds is only good value if they are eaten. With a small amount of effort, you can cut your food waste and your food bill! Check out the Stop Food Waste website for tips and info and follow us on social media for updates.”

Whether you're joining the EPA on the seven-day challenge starting on National Stop Food Waste Day this week, or you're taking this challenge in your own time, the EPA want to hear how you get on. So take the Stop Food Waste Challenge and share your results on social media by using the hashtag #KnowYourFoodWaste and tagging and @EPAIreland.