How your shopping list could save the planet

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What To Do
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Do you make a shopping list before you go to the supermarket or your local shops? You'd be surprised at how many of us don't.

But it pays to be organised with your food shopping – saving you time in the aisles and reducing duplicates in your kitchen. Just think of the times you've rushed off to the shops uncertain if you already have enough milk, rice and potatoes. Shopping day can quickly turn into bin day as your perfectly edible old food gets thrown away to make space for the new. Even if you're already in the habit of making a shopping list, here are a few ways to make food planning work harder for your pocket and the planet – and help you make list-making second nature.

  • Keep a pad and pen in the kitchen, or set up a list on your smartphone – throughout the week, when you’ve got through the last of a particular foodstuff, add it to your list. It only takes a second.
  • Spend a few minutes before going shopping thinking about what meals you'd like to cook – shopping for specific ingredients with meals in mind will helps you to use what we buy and stop you buying food you don't need.
  • Think about buying foods that can be used for several different dishes, like vegetables, mince, cans of tomatoes, salads – this gives you the flexibility to create different meals and use up all your fresh food before it goes off.
  • When you're at the supermarket or your local shops, look for food with the longest use-by date and fresh foods that can be frozen – this helps if you don’t get round to eating them in time.
  • Have a quick rummage through your fridge, freezer and store cupboard once a week – add anything to your list that's finished or almost empty. It'll help to make those costly last-minute runs to the local late night shop a thing of the past.
  • On the day of your shop, take a photo of your fridge as you leave home so you have a quick reference to see what's already in there as you tackle the aisles.
  • You don't have to plan every meal in the week – just having a clear idea for 4-5 meals will allow you to be flexible with unexpected leftovers.

Shopping lists: because they're worth it Did you know that 4.5 million tonnes of food and drink that could have been eaten (i.e. not including shells and bones) is thrown in the bin in our homes each year? That adds up to around £210 per person and around £720 per family per year. Not only is this a waste of delicious food, but it has serious impacts on the environment and your pockets too.