A simple move could save millions of slices a year

By Tim Nelson
Updated March 15, 2018
Credit: Photo by Image Source via Getty Images

When it comes to food waste, stale or moldy bread is a major culprit. 24 million slices of bread—1 million every hour—wind up in the trash everyday in the UK alone, according to charity organization Wrap. Luckily, there’s a relatively simple solution that everyone can consider: freezing bread while it's fresh, then toasting it straight from the freezer. Wrap also recommends just eating more of the food you purchase in general. This is the impetus behind Wrap’s “Make Toast Not Waste” campaign, which seeks to reduce food waste by prolonging the life of our sliced bread.

While one might fear that toasting defrosted bread isn't Great British Bakeoff-approved, Sarah Clayton, head of products and services at Wrap, says there’s no substantive difference. “We can all do our bit to bin less bread by popping it in the freezer to keep it for much longer,” says Clayton. “And you can even use bread straight from the freezer to make toast, without needing to defrost it first.”

The campaign was spurred on by polling that revealed some pretty wasteful habits. A study of 1,000 UK households found that 69 percent of those aged 18 to 34 admitted to tossing out bread that’s gone bad. A full 26 percent of those in this age bracket were aware that bread could be frozen but lacked the desire to do it, marking perhaps the first time that calling millennials lazy would be justified.

That goes a long way towards explaining why the average person ends up throwing away about half a loaf of bread every month. Given that it apparently takes a full year for that bread to get from the field to your trash bin, the freezer starts to seem like a pretty small sacrifice.

And when you consider that eliminating the 7.3 million tons of food (worth £13 billion) thrown away in the UK each year could have the same positive environmental impact as taking one out of every four cars off the road, frozen toast starts to sound pretty tasty. So go ahead and stash that loaf of bread next to your ice cream. Once it’s out of the toaster, your avocado spread won’t know the difference.