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How can we limit food waste?

Tuesday April 18th, 2023, 11:00 AM

In honor of Earth Week, and in order to preserve the Earth sustainably, it's important to limit food waste as much as possible. This article will help you discover or refresh your memory.

1- What's the difference between a "best before" date and a "use by" or "expiration" date?


The "best before" date informs the consumer that after this date, the product may lose its freshness and taste.

For example, chocolate will still be consumable after the best-before date, but its taste may be less pronounced and it may have a slightly whitened appearance.

The expiry date means that the food should not be consumed because it may lose its physical and microbiological stability.

For example, meat in general will be difficult to consume after the date indicated, as the risk of becoming ill is high. In fact, microorganisms can develop very easily, causing severe illness.


Now that we've made the distinction, here's a non-exhaustive list of foods you absolutely mustn't eat once the expiry date has passed.

Deli meats of any kind.
Unpasteurized juices.
Meat (refrigerate for 2 to 4 days, freeze for 8 to 12 months).
Minced meat (refrigerate for 1 to 2 days, freeze for 2 to 3 months).
Poultry (refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, freeze for 1 year).
Lean fish (refrigerate for 3 to 4 days, freeze for 6 months).
Oily fish (salmon) (refrigerate for 3 to 4 days, freeze for 2 months).
Shellfish (clams, crab, lobster) (refrigerate 12 to 24 hours, freeze for 2 to 4 months).
Scallops and shrimps (refrigerate 1-2 days, freeze for 2-4 months).
As mentioned above, there are also many products that can be eaten after the date indicated, without any danger to our bodies. However, it is important to respect reasonable consumption times.

  • Milk. If unopened, milk can be consumed up to two weeks after the expiration date.
  • Yogurts. If the date has passed, consumers can safely consume them 7 to 10 days after the expiry date. However, the product may be more acidic once the date has passed.
  • Pasteurized juices if the containers have not been opened and the packaging is unbroken. They must be refrigerated and consumed within 10 days of opening.
  • Eggs have a best-before date of around 4 weeks. You can check whether the egg is still fresh by placing it in a bowl or glass of water. If the egg floats, it's no longer very fresh; if it sinks, it's still fresh. This is due to the egg's rounder end, which contains a small inner tube. Eggs have small pores that allow air to enter. As the egg ages, the amount of air increases as moisture evaporates in the egg, and it tends to float. Even when the egg floats, it can still be eaten. The "Best Before" date indicates how long eggs retain their Grade A qualities. An egg consumed later is simply less fresh, but has not lost its nutritional qualities. Given the lack of moisture, the white may be more liquid and the yolk more dried out.
  • Canned foods. If the expiration date has passed, the product can generally be consumed several months later. Canned food must be kept in a dry place and in good conditions. We strongly advise against eating food from rusty or bulging cans because of botulism, a deadly toxin.

2- How can we reuse food products that have become non-consumable?

Coffee grounds have excellent virtues for hair and skin, including anti-aging, anti-dark circles, draining and toning. So instead of throwing it away after each use, there are recipes for masks with different effects.

The simplest and most effective is to use it as an exfoliant, as this requires few additional ingredients, most of which we already have. In a bowl, mix :

  • two tablespoons coffee grounds
  • two tablespoons sweet almond oil (can be replaced by olive oil)
  • one teaspoon honey

Gently spread over the face and around the eyes. The "beads" in the coffee grounds will remove all the dead cells accumulated on the face. Be careful not to apply too often (maximum twice a week), as the skin may become irritated.

When yogurt has become unsuitable for consumption, you can still avoid throwing it away by using it to clean your pipes. They will remove limescale and combat unpleasant odours.

  • For best results, leave yogurt out of the fridge for 3 days
  • Pour down the drain or toilet
  • Drain

The same goes for fruit, when it becomes overripe and unpalatable, and there are many recipes available for this purpose.

With the sun shining again, there's nothing like a fresh smoothie recipe:

  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 bananas

Put everything in a blender and blend!

3- How can we get closer to a zero-waste lifestyle?

To limit waste, you can simply reuse it or limit the use of packaging by buying solid products such as solid soap, or by making your own household products such as washing powder.

Recipe for using vegetable scraps instead of throwing them in the compost:

  • 4 cups well-packed vegetable scraps or peelings
  • 8 cups cold water
  • Aromatics of your choice (bay leaves, Parmesan rinds, stale herbs, miso, soy sauce, dried mushrooms, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe for making your own detergent:

200g Marseille soap flakes

1.5L boiling water

Allow to cool

What are your tips for reducing waste?

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