NoWaste app helping us save money and the planet
Food waste is a massive issue, and this app is helping us combat it
We are all guilty, to a greater or lesser extent, of wasting food. We try not to: how annoying is to find something in the fridge you forgot was there and is now far past its best? But it happens. That's not to mention the things in cupboards that haven't seen the light of day for longer than you'd care to mention. And then there's the food you cook but don't finish.
We may think nothing of it at the time but, depending on how often you do this, it could be costing you a small fortune. It's estimated that every year, each of us wastes around 107kg of food, on average. If you live in a house with four other people, that's a mountain of food trickling out your house, and a mountain of money trickling out your wallet.
A summary of the food wasted every day in the UK [Image: Which?]
The bigger picture
We all want to save a little money, but we have been doing this forever, and the notion of saving hasn't stopped us, so it's time to look at the bigger picture.
Food waste is almost as bad for the environment as plastic waste. From our bins, it heads to landfill where it breaks down over time releasing methane. You may be familiar with this being toxic to the environment as a result of all the cow pat jokes, but there is substance to those jokes (in the most metaphorical sense!).
We have been talking for years about how bad CO2 is for the environment, and there is a mass movement to reduce our output. Methane happens to be over 20 times more potent so, gram for gram, it's a bigger offender than the car on your drive.
So what can we do?
Well, planning your meals ahead of going to the supermarket helps a lot. It means you should only really have what you plan to eat. This is easier said than done, particularly when it comes to snacks, and there will always be the remainder of things you didn't finish that go back in the fridge and may never come out again.
You can always freeze things. Most food is good for freezing and you don't have to freeze it straight away, if you planned to use it and haven't gotten round to it, you can freeze it before it goes out of date.
Speaking of which, understanding the dates on the food is important. 'Best before' dates are not an indication that the food isn't safe to eat, rather they indicate that you might want to get to it in the next few days as it was, literally, best before the date stated. 'Use by' dates are a safety thing and these need to be more closely followed.
NoWaste are here to make it easier
It's not easy. We mostly know how to reduce waste and just don't have time to pay close attention to our fridges. Now though, there's an app for that!
NoWaste is an app that will keep track of the food in your kitchen for you. It know's what's there and when it has to be used by. It can alert you when that date is approaching, so that you can plan to eat the food or freeze it.
When you download the free app, you can log all the food going into your kitchen simply by scanning the barcode. If it doesn't have a barcode, there are over 200 default foods you can choose from to match what you need. You then tell it the 'use by' date of the food and, voila, you're good to go.
From here, you can use the log of what you have to plan meals, create a shopping list, or just allow the notifications to keep you on top of things. You can also add your family to the app so that, when someone eats something, they can remove it and everyone knows what's left (which, let me tell you, is very good for family dynamics!).
To keep you motivated, as if this super-human level of organisation isn't motivation enough, the app tracks any food that has gone to waste and, over time will tell you how much you are saving, relative to previous weeks and also relative to the community of users.
It's like a PA for your kitchen except not only is it free, it actually saves you money! And let's save the planet while we're at it, shall we?