The clue is in the food.

It’s time to help the planet. We know, we know. Lockdown sucks for everyone, and with everything going on right now, reducing your impact on the environment is probably the last thing on your mind. While it’s true that focusing on your mental health during this trying time is important, it’s also true that environmental change doesn’t stop for anything- weekends, pandemic or cute baby polar bears. With so many easy ways to reduce your emissions, there’s no excuse for taking just a few minutes out of your day to do what those cute baby polar bears can’t.

We’d all love to eliminate food waste – but sometimes, real life gets in the way. For leftovers you just can’t get through to those healthy superfoods with a certain acquired taste that, let’s be real, you’re never going to eat, there are several food share apps that are perfect for getting rid of unwanted food – we’re loving Olio. Apps not your thing? Leave any unopened food packages in one of our community fridges to help out a fellow student in need (find these at The Edge or The Ridge!) or donate to food banks for a gift to both the planet and those living on it. 

Top tip: If your favourite food is a little bit past it’s best before date but you know you’d still love to eat it- there’s no need to throw it away. Give it a quick look over and smell and if it seems fine, you’re good to go! Although this is good advice for most food, don’t try this with products with a use-by date, such as meat or milk, as these can be dangerous to eat.

If you’re not quite quick enough getting rid of those leftovers, you can chuck any rotting or inedible food into a compost caddy or ReFood caddy instead. If you’re lucky, your flat may already have a ReFood caddy, which contains bags to fill with waste that can then be emptied into the nearest ReFood bin (these can be found scattered around Sheffield). Instead of being piled onto a landfill, however, this food waste is turned into energy! If you don’t have either of these, head over to the customer service desk at the Edge to request your very own composter and get started! 

Saving the planet isn’t a solo project, almost a third of all food produced for us to eat gets lost or wasted. That’s a third of the emissions we spend on food production that could be completely removed! Feeling motivated? Great! Get your coursemates, friends and family involved in Food Waste Action Week (which starts on March the 1st) to make a real difference to the world! From simply sharing this post to using a compost caddy, there are so many ways you can get involved. Mother Nature will thank you!

By Elizabeth Hillyer

Elizabeth is a Green Impact Projects Assistant for the Accommodation and Commercial Services Green Impact team at the University of Sheffield. Blog first posted in the Residence Life Portal.