With the outdoor summer now in full swing, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new campaign to encourage Galway people to reduce their food waste.
The Stretch Out and Save campaign is highlighting simple food storage steps to make people’s fresh food last longer, which could save them hundreds of euro per year.
An EPA survey last year found that around 40% of Irish people say they waste a lot of fruit and vegetables, and would like to make their fresh food last longer.
Properly storing fresh fruit and vegetables can help both the environment and people’s budget, according to Mary Frances Rochford who is EPA Programme Manager.
“We are calling on the people of Galway to support and share our Stretch Out and Save campaign on social media, and take a simple action to stop food waste,” she said.
“Irish households produce over 250,000 tonnes of food waste per year, at a cost of €700 per household.
“In addition, wasted food is a significant contributor to climate change – responsible for 8 to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting food waste reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also provides real savings householders.”
The EPA’s Stop Food Waste top tips for Galway people to stretch out and save their food this summer
Don’t put yourself in a jam; keep the strawberries in the fridge with the green tops intact.
Washing strawberries in a mixture of water and vinegar (8 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar) will also keep them fresh by killing any spores on the fruit.
Don’t see red when your tomatoes start to have mould spots; Store tomatoes in the open air to keep flavour and texture for longer.
An appealing staple in so many households, some people make the mistake of leaving the bag of potatoes out in the light. In fact, potatoes last longer when stored in a cool, dark and dry place.
But don’t store them next to onions; the excess moisture in onions can result in potatoes sprouting faster.
Keep carrots loose in the bottom drawer of the fridge to keep crisp. The most famous vegetable for improving your vision, ensure that you can see the carrots by removing them from plastic packaging. This avoids the ‘sweating’ that leads to mould formation.
If your carrots come with the leaves intact, cut these off before storing. The leaves draw moisture out of the roots causing your carrots to become bendy much faster.
Environmental scientist with the EPA Odile Le Bolloch said that summer is a time for enjoying lots of fresh produce and salads, but these are also the foods that we waste the most.
“With a few simple tips we can keep the food we buy that bit fresher for that bit longer.The Stop Food Waste A-Z of Foods is a useful online resource on how to best manage common foods at home to prevent food waste.”