Waste not, want not, that's what our grandmothers said... didn't they? Anyhow, we are all pouring too much wine and other drinks down the drain. According to a new study by Wrap, a government agency, the British are throwing out £470M ($752M ) worth of wine every year. That's a lot of wine!
It seems that most people can't be bothered to finish off the bottles or cartons of drinks and they don't store them in the fridge either. The most wasted drink is milk, then fizzy soft drinks, fruit juices and smoothies. Even making a pot of tea when you aren't planning to drink the whole thing results in wasted food. All together the drinks account for almost half of all the waste that could be avoided through better planning or better storage. What to do? Hints for saving wine after the fold.
Image from .375bottles
In terms of environmental impact, the report says that if people stopped wasting all this food and drink it would save the equivalent of 20M tons of carbon dioxide, which is comparable to removing one out of every four cars from the road.
Wrap (Waste & Resource Action Programme) suggests that smaller cartons and greater use of half bottles and cans will reduce waste. True, but almost impossible to find at wine stores or super markets. They are also suggesting that leftover wine be frozen in ice cube trays and used in cooking sauces and casseroles. Good idea, but for a country with more takeaway and prepared foods than can be imagined, highly unlikely.
The research and statistics were gleaned from food diaries kept by 319 families. It turns out that many households made too much and served too much food. Wrap is urging people to freeze and reuse leftover soup and custard (this is England).
The advice of one of the leading wine merchants was quoted in an article in the Times. He gave the following advice which answers a lot of questions about what to do with the leftover dregs of last night's bottle.
"If you know you're not going to drink a full bottle when you open it, the best thing is to decant half into a smaller container. You can keep a few half bottles for this purpose and just wash them over again."
Decanting should be done as soon as the full bottle was opened and then it should be sealed with a screw cap to prevent oxygen getting into the wine.
The wine should be fine for at least a week, if not longer. The other option is to keep a bottle and use it over two or three nights.
The best thing is to stop up the bottle and keep it in the fridge, whether it's red or white. It slows down the process of the wine going off. If it's a red wine you just leave it to warm at room temperature for about ten minutes before drinking."