• Students could each save £230 every year by not wasting food
  • Doing this will also help you make a positive change for the environment

Started uni or returned after the summer break? We all know you need your pots, pans and a few key recipes to keep you well fed. But what about some savvy habits to protect your planet? Well, you can start with reducing what food you waste – if everyone in the UK did this, we could do as much good for the environment as taking one in four cars off the road!

Starting university is a Big Deal, and research from Love Food Hate Waste shows that this transition can be a huge trigger for bad food waste behaviours. Whilst 32% of the national population shows these bad behaviours, this shoots up to 51% of new university students.

Love Food Hate Waste’s Spoiled Rotten campaign is reaching out to students to help you get to grips with your fridges and freezers. Small, simple changes can help you reduce how much food you waste, and help you save an average of £230 each year – a significant amount on a student budget!

Apple to zucchini

To help demystify food storage, Love Food Hate Waste has developed a new A–Z food storage guide to point people in the right direction. The guide will tell you whether foods last better in the cupboard or fridge, and whether or not something can be safely frozen.

  • Potatoes – these belong in a cool, dark place, not the fridge.
  • Eggs – these belong in their original box and in the fridge. Did you know you can freeze them if you’re worried about not using them in time? Separate the whites and yolks and pop them in a labelled container.
  • Tomatoes – these can be stored in the fridge to make them last longer.

Chilling nought to five

Did you know your fridge temperature can have an impact on the planet?

The average fridge in UK homes is set to seven degrees, which is far too high for most foods, meaning they go off quicker and get wasted. Food that is wasted will rot and release methane – a greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.

Checking and changing your fridge temperature to 0–5 degrees can make food last up to three extra days, keeping it fresher for longer and preventing it going to waste. Whether you’re in halls or sharing a house, this is an easy way to have a positive impact on the planet (and your bank account!)

Not sure how to check the temperature? The Love Food Hate Waste fridge thermometer tool can help you work it out.

Easy freezy

You may have to battle for freezer space in your student digs, but there are ways to make the most of what you’ve got! Jenny Carr from Love Food Hate Waste says freezer skills can prevent food going to waste:

“We’ve all had the nightmare of seeing some old food lurking in the back of the freezer – we call these ‘Unidentified Frozen Objects’! To avoid UFOs, scribble on a label or even the packaging to say when you’ve frozen it and what’s inside so you can see it a glance what delicious treats you’ve got. That way, you won’t end up with an accidental mis-matched meal, like chilli con leftover curry!”

A few other ways to make the most of your freezer to prevent food being wasted:

  • If you’re not a keen meal planner, remember you can freeze food right up to the use-by date. Perfect for those spontaneous dinner plans – just pop your food in the freezer instead!
  • Be portion smart with what you freeze. If you have some fruit about to go off, chop it up and freeze it in chunks! An ice-cube tray is your friend here – freeze chunks separately in the different sections, then when they’re good and chilled pop them all in an airtight container or bag.

Love Food Hate Waste will be sharing lots of tips on social media about reducing what food gets wasted. Find us using #SpoiledRotten and visit the website to find advice, recipes, and more.

Councillor Jonathan Smale, Cabinet Member for Communities, Neighbourhoods and Streetpride commented:

“Starting at university is an exciting time and it’s all too easy to forget what’s in the fridge and cupboards when you’ve got deadlines looming and a busy social life. Taking a few minutes to read and follow the advice from Love Food Hate Waste could save you time and money so you can make the most of everything Derby has to offer!”