If you want to get serious about reducing food waste in 2024, it has to start at home. According to sustainability charity WRAP, household food waste makes up 60% of the UK’s total loss, much of which is fresh produce like fruit and vegetables. The latest figures from WRAP show that 12% of the food thrown away in UK households in 2021 could have been eaten.
The amount of household food waste has fluctuated in recent years. There was a reduction of almost 6% between 2015 and 2018, however the newest statistics show that between 2018 and 2021, the quantity rose to 76kg per person in 2021 from UK homes (in financial terms, equivalent to £250), 9kg more per person than in 2018.
WRAP attributes the recent rise to people eating more at home during the pandemic as well as low food prices relative to average incomes. So, even when we were taking action to combat waste, there was still a rise over time.
There are steps we can all take to help more. To ensure you’re making the most of your fresh produce, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite vegetable storage solutions for your kitchen. These will help you preserve items for longer, helping you save money, reduce food wastage – and keep your kitchen neat and tidy at the same time.
Vegetable storage ideas for your cupboards
Not all fruit and vegetables need to stay in the fridge. Carrots, potatoes and other root vegetables can be kept at room temperature. Moisture speeds up spoiling, so storing these in the open provides better ventilation and keeps them fresher for longer.
A vegetable rack will keep all produce together and free up precious fridge space. It’ll also make it easier to see which fruits and vegetables you have to hand at first glance. Food that can be stored in a rack doesn’t need to be kept in its packaging, but green leaves like lettuce and spinach should stay in a container in the fridge.
Vegetable storage ideas for your fridge
There are lots of easy solutions to help fruit and veg last longer in your fridge – even without buying anything new. Simply storing things effectively, so you can see easily what you have to hand, can help prevent wastage. It’s easy to buy a duplicate of something when you can’t see that you had one hidden behind a big block of cheese, which makes it harder to use everything up in time.
But there are also lots of handy buys that can make life easier. A silicone cover will keep tomato and onion halves fresh and stop pungent smells from escaping. I have this OXO one and it’s very roomy; mine’s currently keeping half an onion, some ginger and a lime safe until I need them.
You can also fit the base of your salad crisper drawer with a cushion. These are porous, allowing air to circulate effectively and stop fruit and veg from ‘sweating’. The spongy texture also prevents bruising, so they’re also good for use in your fruit bowl.
Vegetable storage ideas for keeping herbs fresh
Herbs last much longer when they’re kept in water. Keeping them in a bowl in the fridge is an option, but bumps and knocks could cause spillages. A herb saver is a better option. These airtight containers extend the lives of cut herbs for up to three weeks, so you won’t have to throw away any more yellowing bunches.
For fresh herbs, a self-watering planter is a lifesaver. These release water as and when is needed, so you can just leave them on the windowsill without fear of neglecting them. This is great for times you’re on holiday especially, but do remember to top up the planter every now and then.