Why binning bread is the last thing you should do with it

February’s Save a Crust campaign highlights what you can do with leftover bread to tackle food waste at home.

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Here’s some food for thought…we waste 1.2 billion bread crusts each year in the UK. All those end of loaves or heels of bread add up to 59 million loaves of bread – wasted.

New research by the North London Waste Authority has revealed that the average household throws away the equivalent of a loaf of bread a month. It contributes to the £810 worth of food each British household wastes each year. And when wages are stagnant and food prices set to rise – reducing our food waste is an easy way we can help ourselves and help the planet at the same time.

The North London Waste Authority has launched the Save A Crust campaign to help tackle simple food waste at home.

Chair of NLWA, Councillor Clyde Loakes, said: “What particularly surprised me with our research is that one in 10 under 35s say the problem of food waste is so huge they don’t believe anything they do will make a difference. 

We want to show that small changes can have a big impact and that’s one reason we’ve launched our Save a Crust campaign. Making brand new dishes and treats from a product you simply would have thrown away otherwise is a brilliant way for households to reduce their food waste and save some money – whilst brushing up on their baking skills.”

The authority is working with chefs on baking and cooking workshops that demonstrate how to make tasty treats from leftover bread.

5 tips for leftover bread

  • Pop crusts in a bag in the freezer as you go along – you’ll be surprised how quickly you have enough to cook or bake with
  • To make breadcrumbs, if you haven’t got a blender use a cheese grater with either fresh or frozen crusts
  • Plan ahead – with a little planning you can ensure none of the bread you buy goes to waste, saving you money and benefiting the environment
  • Make a sweet treat: Cinnamon Crunch – toss crusts with butter, sugar and cinnamon for a snack similar to donuts
  • Pep up savoury bake: Coat chicken, fish and vegetables with breadcrumbs or use as a gratin to top a pasta bake or macaroni cheese

“Many people will be familiar with reaching past the end slice of a loaf to get to the next piece. Equally, some people prefer their sandwich or morning toast without crusts. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but what’s important is that we start to shift the culture of just binning without thinking. Discarding your crusts may seem a small thing to do, but each crust adds to the huge food waste mountain which is damaging the environment and is very costly to manage,” said Loakes.

Chef Mark Borrell, said: “We are passionate about helping people to waste less food. Making a tasty bread and butter pudding, stuffing or Tiramisu using crusts you’d otherwise have binned is really rewarding and I love seeing the look on people’s faces when they realise what how easy it is.”

The free ‘Save a Crust’ Workshops will be taking place across all north London boroughs over the next five weeks, with a live outdoor event in Wood Green on 2 February. Visit the WUTW website to find out more about the campaign and get recipe ideas for making the most of leftover bread. North London residents will also be able to register for a workshop online.

Click here for more easy tips to reduce food waste at home.