7 Tips for a Waste-Free Pancake Day

Leah Martin, BLUEPRINT Communications Lead 15th February 2022

Who’s excited to tuck into a scrumptious stack this Shrove Tuesday? Before deciding on your pancake recipes and toppings, be sure to consider the waste produced on Pancake Day.

There are lots of ways you can make planet-friendly pancakes, including using up overripe ingredients, checking your cupboards and saving any leftovers. Follow these seven easy tips to cut back on pancake waste and check out our blog post about using scraps and leftovers for more food waste reduction tips.

Pancake stack in chocolate sauce with strawberries
Help to reduce the waste produced on Pancake Day.

1. Mash up bananas

We all made banana bread during lockdown, but did you know you can use overripe bananas in pancakes too? Simply mash a few bananas with a fork and beat into your mix. Alternatively, slice up soft bananas and use as a topping, or caramelise them for extra yumminess.  

Pancake stack on white plate topped with bananas and blueberries
There are tons of ways to use bananas in your pancake recipe.

2. Use coffee grounds

The UK throws away hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coffee grounds each year (BBC). There are lots of ways you can cut back on your coffee waste, such as by throwing grounds onto your compost bin or using them in skincare treatments.

Alternatively, why not use coffee grounds in your pancake mix? Simply add a few spoons to the batter, but be sure to counter out the bitterness with a bit of sugar.

Coffee grounds
Don't waste coffee grounds; use them in your pancake batter instead.

3. Plan your portions

We all love pancakes, but can you really manage a stack of 15? Carefully planning your portions and buying ingredients accordingly will help you to waste less and save money this Shrove Tuesday. And don’t be tempted to buy extra ingredients in the supermarket; make your list and stick to it to avoid any excess. 

Pancake stack with fruit topping in front of book shelf.
Portion planning helps the planet and your pocket.

4. Keep your batter

If you do end up with too much batter and not enough room in your belly, don’t throw it away! Simply pour it into a Tupperware and store in the fridge for round two the next day.

You can also freeze the pancakes you’ve already cooked up if you can’t make it through the whole stack. Just leave them to cool, place into a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. Once you’re ready for your next portion, you can reheat them in the oven, toaster or microwave.

Man in checked shirt cooking pancakes.
Save your leftover pancake batter for the following day.

5. Check the cupboards

Don’t buy what you don’t need! Have you checked for all the staples, such as flour, milk and eggs? Perhaps there’s an old bag of plain flour at the back of the cupboard you might be able to use.

Bowl of flour next to cupcake tray.
Check your cupboards for ingredients like flour, sugar, nuts and chocolate chips.

Fridge and cupboard shelves may also contain delicious toppings. Chopped nuts work well on pancakes, and you might come across some syrup, chocolate spread or honey you didn’t know you had.

6. Waste-free toppings

If you need to buy toppings, try to purchase items you might use again. Seeds, for example, are easy to bake into flapjacks or use on your morning cereal. Alternatively, fresh berries can be frozen and made into a delicious smoothie at a later date.

Arial view of berries on top of pancakes.
Freeze leftover fruit to use in smoothies or porridge.

If you’re buying fresh toppings, such as cream-based products, be sure to check the use-by dates and store properly to avoid expiration. And speaking of fresh toppings, remember to choose real lemons over bottled juice to reduce unnecessary plastic waste.

7. Be savvy with shells

Thousands of households will be buying a new box of eggs for Pancake Day, but what will they be doing with the shells? Instead of throwing them in your food caddy, why not crush them up and add them to your compost heap? They can also be used as zero-waste seedling planters or mixed with apple cider vinegar for a natural skincare remedy.

Eggs in cardboard box
There are lots of ways to use egg shells.

Once you’ve emptied your egg box, remember to remove any plastic stickers and pop the cardboard box in your recycling. Alternatively, you can shred up the cardboard and add it to your compost heap along with the crushed shells.