Topflite’s top tips for reducing food waste

Topflite’s top tips for reducing food waste

​​Putting precious food to good use

Every year, food rotting away in oxygen-deprived landfills produces over 400 thousand tonnes of carbon emissions in Aotearoa – and even more is created through the production, packaging and shipping of food products. However, with a few simple actions, it’s easy to keep good food out of the bin, saving money and saving the climate.

Here at Topflite, we are dedicated to our waste minimisation journey, with an aim to eliminate single-use plastic from our packaging by 2025. We’ve joined WasteMINZ, a not-for-profit organisation that helps businesses looking meet waste minimisation targets. We’ve been composting and recycling our lunch waste for a while now – and recently we started chatting about our own ideas for eliminating food waste. 

We've compiled the team's best tips for making good use of New Zealand’s ten most wasted foods.


The number one way to keep bread out of the bin is to keep it in the fridge or freezer and use it as needed. Most of the time, bread is thrown out when it goes stale or mouldy. Keep it cold and this will prolong its life. We don’t have a solution for your kids and their crusts though – that one is on you!
Some more ideas:
  • Use as feed for chickens and pigs
  • Turn into breadcrumbs and use as needed
  • Make a stuffing and freeze for your next roast chicken dinner
  • Turn into garlic bread or cheese rolls and freeze for later


Using leftovers takes some dedication and will power, but once you are accustomed to remembering to take your leftovers to work for lunch, you are likely to never go back!
Some more ideas:
  • Add pastry and turn into a tasty pie – or a frittata for the gluten-intolerant 
  • Freeze it for those times when you need a heat and eat dinner
  • Drop off containers to friends and family


Oranges and mandarins are the most commonly wasted fruit in New Zealand. Catching them before they go squishy – and doing some timely juicing, freezing or gorging – is the best way to prevent them from being thrown out.
Some more ideas:
  • Put it in your bokashi bin or add to your compost
  • Chop and freeze to add to smoothies
  • Put out for the birds – they’ll even like the squishy ones


How about them apples? Well, the best advice for a glut of apples is to get chopping and stewing and freezing for later.
Some more ideas:
  • Peel, cook and puree as a base for fruit leather
  • Make applesauce and chutneys
  • Chop up and add to a crumble for dessert
  • Dehydrate for nibbling on


Our best tip for making excess or overripe bananas go the distance with ease is to peel and chop them, then freeze them in bags or containers to be used for baking and smoothies. The birds love them too so pop a few into the Little Bird Feeder or the Truffle Feeder
The Operations Team was full of great ideas and Phil’s top tip was to make a plant fertilizer out of banana skins. Simply soak them in a jar of water and after a week remove the peels and dilute. Spray at the base of plants to encourage growth. Find out more here.


If kept in a dry, cool place, potatoes should last well in the cupboard. Then, the best way to prevent waste is to try not to cook too many at once. Easier said than done, we know.
Some more ideas:
  • Fry the leftovers the next day
  • Make into fritters and hash browns
  • Use mash for a classic potato top pie
  • Make potato skin crisps out of washed and dried peelings


The best use of leftover chicken is the good old fashioned sandwich, or perhaps a chicken salad.
Some more ideas:
  • Boil bones and bits and make into stock
  • Make a chicken pie
  • Use on pizzas
  • Add to a stirfry 


Again, careful measuring of rice – about half a cup per person is usually enough – will help to reduce waste.
Some more ideas:
  • Rice pudding
  • Add to dog food.
  • Fry up with veges and a protein source for a yummy fried rice 


If you want your lettuce to keep longer in the fridge, get it out of its plastic bag! Rinse it off and place in a metal container or bowl with a lid. This will both keep it fresher and make it more readily available for use, which means you are more likely to use it before it goes slimy or wilts.
Some more ideas:
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Wraps
  • Replacement for buns in a low carb burger


Aside from bringing leftovers for lunch, roast beef can also be frozen for up to three months and used when needed.
Some more ideas:
  • Add to casseroles
  • Roast meat & gravy sammies
  • Make stock and freeze

Thanks to the Topflite staff for all these great suggestions!

Topflite Team waste minimisation

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