HOW often do you throw away bits of uneaten meat and forgotten fruit in the fridge?
Over a year the increasing amount of food we bin as a country equates to millions of tonnes, with a shocking 20 per cent of that unopened and 70 per cent avoidable.
Aside from the financial pain to families’ pockets, wasting food wastes its many production and disposal costs plus world resources in road or air miles.
But it seems local people want to curb our throw away society for all kinds of reasons.
Love Food, Hate Waste classes showing how to make a difference are proving popular across the county and the Derbyshire Times was invited to one as part of Adult Learners’ Week.
“We all wanted to come along,” said Cliff Burden (61), whose wife and son have already completed the six-week course at Birdholme Children’s Centre, Chesterfield .
“My son and wife came together. He knew very little about cooking and as a student didn’t want to waste food, we all know students generally aren’t flush with money.
“My wife is disabled and I’m no great shakes when it came to the kitchen, I’d think let’s have a barbecue, I can manage that.”
Derbyshire County Council is running the innovative classes, currently free, through Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service.
Students are able to look at what they bin by keeping a diary, share tips like planning meals or freezing extra portions, cook thrifty recipes together and uncover facts about best before dates and measurements.
The idea is to help people embrace the wartime “waste not want not” philosophy gradually, not force them to use every last scrap straight away.
“Each month the average family throws away £50 of good food – what research has shown is that by following the tips people can save that,” said tutor Helen Moyes, a trained food economist, after showing learners how to love their leftovers in tasty empanadas.
“Every day as a nation we throw away 4.4m apples alone, some people bin unopened packets of crisps they don’t like from a multipack. It is shocking when you think your little bit all adds up.”
Love Food, Hate Waste is funded by the council using Government grant aimed at slashing waste.
The next free course is at Swadlincote from June 7 to July 12. Call (01283) 228400.
For the chance to win a goody bag with recipes and measures, plus the empanadas recipe, see this week’s Derbyshire Times.