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Your tips to reduce food waste

We each have things we do to make the most of our food. Maybe you make smoothies from brown bananas or your Mum has a special way of storing celery?

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What do you do to reduce your food waste?
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Veggie scraps stock

I collect vegetable peelings, tops & tails in an airtight container in the fridge. When the container is filled, I boil them up with herbs and seasoning to make vegetable stock. This gets frozen in batches and I use it for soup or for cooking rice and other grains.

By: Kaye Gilhooley, Christchurch


Cauliflower stems and leaves

Finely slice cauliflower stalks and add in stews, soups, or pies. Use the leaves in stir fries.



By: Ruth Nicholls, Cambridge


Blended banana peel rose food

Blend banana peels with plenty of water to feed your roses.


By: Anna, Auckland


Leftover beetroot

Have you got leftover raw beetroot? Cut into thin slices and roast them in the oven with sugar or herbs and make sweet & savoury beetroot chips!!! Kids love it!

By: Aimee, Christchurch


Croutons from Stale Bread

Don’t throw away your stale bread. Chop the bread into small cubes, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt then bake them until golden and crispy!

By: Unitec- Managing Everyday Living, Auckland


Tiny left over do overs

Sometimes there may be a tiny amount of a meal leftover that makes a great lunch or snack. So why not put it into a toasted sandwich with cheese, cook it up with egg, or wrap it in pastry and bake it in a toastie maker.

By: Donna Joy, Invercargill


Use for broccoli stalks and leaves

I save broccoli stalks and freeze them. When it comes time to make a large pot of soup I partially defrost the stems then grate them and put them into the soup. Or I cut them up into match sticks for stir fries.

By: Raewyn, Auckland


Ginger peels

Instead of peeling ginger, you can scrape ginger with a paring knife which will remove the peel clean without taking ginger bits with it.

By: Sudha Nayak, Auckland


Leftovers Pie

I keep a packet of pastry sheets in the freezer I have a non stick baking tin the exact size of a pastry sheet. Press a sheet into the tin prick all over with a fork. Now gather all the leftovers from the fridge and spread over. Any little thing will do. Within reason don’t worry about the combinations. Sprinkle a little grated cheese over the top. Bake in hot oven until golden. We have had some amazing mixes and never one the same. One of our favourite quick meals and as we don’t buy pies we also have a pastry fix now and again.


By Jenny, Gisborne


Leftovers Buffet

Do you have quite a few leftover meals in the freezer but not enough for an individual meal? Put a selection of leftovers together and have a buffet. Depending  on what type of food you cook, it is like having an international buffet, i.e. Butter Chicken, Spaghetti Bolognese, roast dinner and so on!  It also helps to reduce space in your freezer for more leftovers!

By: Sue, Auckland


Vegetable water

I usually steam vegetables and drink the water I used with a bit of added lemon juice and apple cider vinegar

By: Hans titze


Re-heating hot chips

If you have chips leftover from fish and chips, they can be successfully reheated in a frying pan (as reheating in the microwave makes them taste awful!). Place the chips in a dry frying pan (no extra oil) and heat over a low heat. Turn frequently to prevent burning.

By: Kirsty, Auckland


Liquid vegetable peeling fertiliser

Never throw out your veggie peelings – put them in your blender with some water and liquidise them, then use them to feed your plants.

By: Angela, Paihia


If it’s there….

We have “if-it’s” at least once a week… if it’s there, you can eat it, if it’s not, you can’t! I empty the fridge out onto the bench and we make whatever we can- first in usually gets the best meal.

By: Vicky, Waipawa


Make use of strawberry tops

The green tops of strawberries are edible so it is waste to just chuck them into your bin or compost. They are great for adding an extra dose of greens to your smoothie – either chuck in the strawberries whole, or if you are not making a smoothie immediately, freeze the tops to use later.

You can also use the strawberry tops to infuse water or as a flavouring for vinegar or kombucha.

By: Sarah, Auckland


Use cornflakes as breadcrumbs

If you have stale cornflakes, toast them in the oven to crisp them up, crush them into a powder (you can use a food processor) then use to crumb chicken or fish, like you would with breadcrumbs.

By: Macrae, Dunsandle


An extra plate

When making a family meal put an extra plate out and dish up. You can always squeeze out an extra lunch or dinner from a family meal. Cover and freeze. After a week or so you will have a selection to call on for that hungry teenager or a no cook day!

By: Ngaire, Christchurch


Dehydrating saves waste and space

Keep all vegetable peelings, pumpkins skins, cabbage cores etc. Chop all of them finely and then dehydrate till crisp. Whizz to a powder then just add 1 teaspoon to flavour stews, soups etc. Roughly 1 teaspoon equals 1 cup stock.

By: Janine, Auckland