Fight food waste

    05 Mar 2018

    Every year Kiwi households send 122,547 tonnes of food to landfill, costing us a massive $872 million a year in food that’s bought and thrown away uneaten. That’s an average of 79kgs per household at a cost of $563 per year. And the environmental price paid is equally alarming. According to figures from we would need to plant 130,390 trees each year to offset the carbon emissions caused by methane released from our rotting food waste.

    Most of us are keen to prevent harm to our environment, in fact food waste campaigners Love Food Hate Waste NZ say that, when surveyed, 89% of Kiwis believe that wasting food is wrong. We want to support organisations like Love Food Hate Waste NZ and thought that we’d start sharing some of their practical, everyday tips for making the most of our leftovers. If you have any great ideas of your own – we’d love to hear from you.
    • Blend leftover greens or fruit from children’s lunchboxes with little water and freeze them in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer them to bags ready to add to smoothies.
    • Store buy bagged baby spinach or other greens in a plastic container lined and covered with paper towel. The greens stay fresher for much longer. No more slimy greens at the bottom of a plastic bag.
    • Chop and freeze leftover herbs with water in ice cube trays and you’ll never run out of fresh herbs. Try freezing excess herbs in oil in ice cube trays – then just throw a cube into hot pasta for delicious herby, non-stick spaghetti!
    • Chop up bananas on the turn into thick slices and freeze on a tray before putting them in bags. Perfect for smoothies, banana bread, muffins…
    • Turn leftover breakfast cereal into smoothies. Blend leftover cereal with uneaten lunchbox fruit or frozen fruit and add a banana for a perfect after-school snack.
    • Avoid wilting celery sticks at the back of the fridge by dicing up a whole celery (including leaves) as soon as you buy it, then freeze in a ziplock bag. An easy, tasty addition to risottos, soups, meat sauces and stews.
    • Try making fridge harvest stew or fridge harvest crumble at the end of the week to use up any veggies or fruit that’s been overlooked or left behind.
    • Save crusts or the heels of bread in a bag in the freezer and when you have enough, turn them into bread crumbs and freeze for future use, or slice the bread, mix with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar and bake for delicious cinnamon sugar bread chips. The kids will love them!
    Thanks for these fantastic tips and recipes, Love Food Hate Waste. We’ll be sharing more over the coming weeks and months. Another great guide to leave you with is the 2-2-2 rule for leftovers. Once food has been cooked, you have two hours to get it in the fridge, two days to eat it up or two months to use if frozen.

    So, let’s work on taking some pressure off the planet — and our pockets — one mouthful at a time. If you’d like to find out more about waste-free living, Earthwise is a proud sponsor of New Zealand’s own waste-free warrior, Kate Meads. Kate is a respected educator who runs workshops across New Zealand to help raise awareness of the impact of modern living on the environment. To find a workshop near you, go to

    If you have more great ways of saving food and money, let us know. We’d love to share them with the rest of the Earthwise community on our Facebook page.