As the country prepares for an outdoor summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new campaign to encourage people to reduce their food waste.

Findings from a 2020 EPA survey on food waste attitudes showed that around 40% of Irish people say they waste a lot of fruit and vegetables, and would like to make their fresh food last longer.

According to the EPA, fresh fruit, vegetables and salads are Irish summer favourites – “but also the foods we waste the most”.

Through its Stretch Out and Save campaign on social media, the EPA is calling on everyone to take a simple action to stop food waste.

“Irish households produce over 250,000t of food waste per year, at a cost of €700 per household,” Mary Frances Rochford, EPA programme manager said.

“In addition, wasted food is a significant contributor to climate change – responsible for 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Cutting food waste reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also provides real savings householders.”

The EPA’s top tips to stretch out and save your food this summer include:

  • Strawberries: Keep them in the fridge with green tops intact, and washing them in water and vinegar keeps them fresh;
  • Tomatoes: Store them in the open air to keep flavour and texture for longer;
  • Potatoes: They last longer when stored in a cool, dark and dry place and don’t store them next to onions – the excess moisture can result in them sprouting faster;
  • Carrots: Keep them loose in the bottom drawer of the fridge to keep crisp, and remove leaves before storing as they draw out moisture.

“As no two foods are the same, different produce will often have different storage requirements,” the EPA added.

“Relearning habits and implementing them as we put our shopping away will help to get the most out of groceries.”