Take care of the food – minimize food waste - Livsmedelsverket

Take care of the food – minimize food waste

Every year, the average Swede throws away around 25 kilogrammes of perfectly edible food. The cost of that food is enough to get by on for a whole month. And that doesn’t even include food that is thrown down the sink. Besides the fact that it’s not so smart to throw money in the garbage can, such waste is bad for the environment.


One simple way of improving the environment is to cut back on the amount of food you waste. On the links to the left you’ll find advice on how to store food properly, use leftovers efficiently and learn about the real meaning of best-before dates.


Here are a few basic tips to get you going:

  • Plan your food purchases and don’t buy more than you need.

  • Use food before it spoils – keep track of what you have in the refrigerator, including those hard to reach spots way in the back.

  • Store food properly:
    - Put fresh meat, fish, dairy products and other chilled goods in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Keep your refrigerator at around 4-5° C.
    - Most fruits and vegetables last longer in the refrigerator. If you want to keep fruit in a fruit bowl on the coffe table, be sure to use them as soon as possible.
    - Freeze any items that you want to keep for an extended period of time – set your freezer at around -18° C.

  • Don’t throw food away just because the best-before date has passed; many items are just fine for a long time after that. Look, smell and taste any items that you think might be spoiling, and trust your senses. If you have stored an item according to the instructions, it will still be safe to eat even after the best-before date.

  • Be creative with leftovers - prepare a smorgasbord, use them in a new recipe or freeze them.

Using food wisely is good not only for your finances but for the environment. Producing food contributes to global warming and environmental degradation. Swedish households, restaurants and caterers throw away food equivalent to a carbon footprint of 500 000 tonnes a year*. It takes 200,000 cars to create that much pollution.**

*Based on annual avoidable household food waste of 239 00 tons (Swedish Environmental Emissions Data Network (SMED) 2011), causing 2,07 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per ton (BIOIS 2010)

**Based on average annual mileage of 12 350 km at 210 g of carbon dioxide equivalents per km (Swedish Transport Administration 2012; Transport Analysis 2012)


Updated: 01/10/2013