Leftovers. Everyone is guilty of producing them, but often, people aren’t aware of how dangerous food waste can be to our environment. We can explore this through the case of leftover bread. Bread is an everyday household essential consumed by millions of people, making it no surprise that it generates a lot of leftover bread which is actually never consumed. There are many reasons why leftovers are produced. You may overestimate the amount of bread you’d need at the supermarket, are given an excess of bread at a restaurant, or are gifted bread by a neighbor who is going on holiday. All of these situations can lead to food waste. Read on to discover why this is such a problem and what you can start doing with your leftover bread!
Why is food waste an issue?
We cannot ignore the food waste problem any longer – if we do, the issue will only become increasingly concerning regarding our planet’s wellbeing. Food takes a multitude of labor, land, and water to produce. As an example, just think about a simple loaf of bread. Consider how it was made – the resources and hard work which went into raising the animals involved, manufacturing the dough, transferring it to supermarkets and other stores, and shoppers’ energy of actually traveling to buy it. Letting all this effort go to waste seems like a crime!
In present times, eyewatering amounts of wasted food are destined for polluting landfill sites, where it rots and releases devastating gases such as methane. If we stop throwing our bread leftovers away, we could actually slash our carbon dioxide emissions by a considerable amount.
How to approach your bread leftovers
So, now that you know why leftovers are such a huge problem, how can you approach your own bread leftovers and minimize this environmental problem?
Freeze your bread
The most obvious solution is to freeze your bread loaves. Whilst fresh bread always tastes the best, freezing your loaves prevent them from going moldy and can quickly be defrosted to be consumed. You can even toast or grill your bread straight from the freezer, which is incredibly efficient.
Feed the wildlife
If you don’t intend on consuming your bread leftovers yourself, you could always feed the wildlife around you. For example, the most famous way of using leftover bread is by feeding the ducks at the park. Not only does this help keep our natural wildlife thriving, but it also provides a fun activity for you to do with the kids. As a less common action, you could also place your leftover breadcrumbs on your birdfeeder, helping to keep biodiversity thriving. Just ensure you don’t leave out large quantities, as bread doesn’t actually contain much nutrition for birds.
Get crafty with main meals
It may surprise you that bread is actually a key ingredient in many main meals. There are countless recipes online which can easily spark some inspiration! One of the simplest ways to save your bread from going in the bin is to make croutons. You can transform your stale bread into golden, crispy cubes with a rapid round in the oven. Place them in the freezer for storage, where they’ll be preserved until you want them. It also might be good to scatter the croutons over soup, on a salad, or even just have them at hand as a straightforward snack. You could also try out Panzanella, an Italian bread salad.
Indulge in bread puddings
What’s better than dessert? For example, you could create a classic homely dessert, bread, and butter pudding. This can complement most main meals and go down a treat at dinner parties. For those who have a sweet tooth at breakfast time, you could attempt to make chocolate and banana French toast.
Firstly, it’s evident that food waste is a massive crisis that needs to be tackled directly. By choosing to use up your bread leftovers instead of binning them, you can reduce this concerning environmental burden.
Moreover, businesses may be able to benefit from encouraging people to use up leftovers. For example, by providing recipe books dedicated to leftovers, companies may bring in profits from increasing numbers of eco-conscious consumers.
Finally, every individual has the power to impact our planet through their approach to leftovers. Taking the right direction is really vital, especially as food waste continues to expand.