Storing To Save The Planet

January 14, 2011 in Home & Garden

I read a staggering fact recently, apparently the UK throws away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every year! If we ignore for a second how ridiculously wasteful this is (and the fact that there are millions starving in the world who could benefit hugely from the food we willingly throw out) and consider this from an environmental standpoint, if we offset all of this waste we would save 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide! Considering that the average car emits 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually that’s the same as about 834000 cars every year! It seems to me that while, yes of course, we should be emphasising the environmental impact of cars, fuels and other pollutants, there is nowhere near enough emphasis put on the smaller things we can all do to help reduce carbon emissions.

Aside from the environmental aspects there are the monetary considerations too, apparently avoidable drink wastes cost us £1.6 billion annually. For a country that is in recession what are we doing wasting so much money?!

Anyway, that’s my initial rant over (I’m an engineer, I love numbers). If we scale this back to consider each individual family and the food (and drink) wastage incurred, we are all wasting a ridiculous amount of money……as well as having an impact on the environment.

Personally I do try and use leftovers as much as possible, but I know that I’m wasteful and I’m always on the look out for ways to reuse food through recipes, containers, freezable meals etc. If I’m honest it’s always been purely a moneysaving exercise for me, but having read those facts I will definitely be thinking of the environmental impact from now on.

There are numerous products on the market to encourage you to store your food and reduce waste. However I was sent a sample of a product called AnyLock the other day to review….which is really what set my mind in motion. The AnyLock system consists of reusable bags and sealing rods that provide an airtight, watertight and odour-tight seal to allow the bag’s contents to stay fresh for longer……..hence, less waste.

As I was going through my “environmental assessment” it did occur to me that plastic bags wouldn’t be the most environmental food storage solution, however the AnyLock system is completely reuseable. In fact the bags are dishwasher safe, making them really easy to use and ideal for busy chefs.
The bags and rods can be used together, or you can use the rods separately to seal open packets such as coffee, crisps, cereals, rice, pasta etc. I gave it a go with some Porridge Oats and it was great, you fold the package over and slide the rod along…sealed!
Both the bags and rods are temperature tolerant from 120 degrees celsius down to -20 degrees, meaning you can also use them in the freezer. I’ve decanted the garden peas into them……..seriously what is it with peas that means they have to spill all over the freezer?! Well, not anymore!
Their temperature tolerance also means that if you are needing to reheat foodstuff you can put them straight into boiling water, or the microwave without the need to remove anything from the bag.
I’m always sceptical when products claim to be watertight, maybe I just can’t seal things properly but they never seem to live up to their claims. So I decided to fill one of the bags with water, seal it and turn it upside down…………yes this could have gone horribly wrong………
…but it didn’t! It worked really well and I was really impressed!
All in all, I really like these bags, they are fab! I think we will probably test them out on my husband’s packed lunches to keep the sandwiches fresh, they’d be ideal for picnics too.  In actual fact my favourite thing about the AnyLock system is that they take up next to no room when not in use. Unlike plastic box containers, which seem to take up a whole cupboard to themselves (well they do in our house anyway), these bags just sit in a drawer in our kitchen with the kitchen foil, greaseproof paper and the like…perfect!
I was sent a dual pack to review consisting of 1 large bag and 1 medium bag, however there are four sizes to suit all storage requirements, and different pack sizes are available.  The AnyLock system retails from £4.49 for a pack of four rods and eight bags.  Initially I thought this was quite expensive but all of the products come with a 12 month guarantee, and when compared to the cost of storage boxes of a similar specification I think this is actually quite good value for money.
So, back to my original point. Surely using the AnyLock system (or similar) must save you money in the long term, as when stored correctly your food will stay fresher for longer! Not only that but storing food such as leftovers for future use in reusable storage must, surely, help towards reducing the amount of waste we generate in the UK per annum? That is of course if you actually USE the leftovers!
For more information on the AnyLock system visit http://www.anylock.co.uk/.
The facts and figures for my initial rant were taken from the following websites:

http://www.carbonify.com/carbon-calculator.htm

An AnyLock sample was received for consideration. All views expressed in this post are my own. I did not receive any other reward, financial or otherwise for this post.