Homeware shop Lakeland has come up with a few ingenious ideas on how to keep food fresh for longer, be it in the fridge or in the pantry.

AFTER the expense of Christmas, start the New Year as you mean to go on by making sure you get the most out of your weekly shop.

According to foodie website lovefoodhatewaste.com, about a third of the food we buy in the UK is thrown away, but you can make some simple changes with a little help from Lakeland and make sure you get to enjoy everything you buy. The home of creative kitchenware has lots of fresh ideas to help customers keep food at its best for longer, which means you can reduce the amount you throw away, save yourself money on your food bills and make sure you’re all set for a thrifty start to the year.

How many bananas do you throw away because they have ripened too quickly? Or potatoes because they’ve started sprouting? These exclusive bags will keep them fresher for longer and have both been designed for the job. The potato bag is made from breathable canvas to keep out the light and give good air circulation to keep potatoes fresher for longer, while the banana bag provides insulation to stop the flesh over-ripening in the fridge, and also keeps the skin warm enough to prevent it blackening.

The fruit will stay just as it should for about a fortnight – twice its normal lifespan.

Lakeland Banana Bags cost £4.88 and Potato Bags £5.86 Other great ways to make fruit and vegetables last longer is by storing them in Stayfresh Longer bags, they’ll stay lovely and fresh for weeks on end. A unique formula slows the natural ageing process and helps stop moisture and bacteria forming. They remain effective for several weeks, so can be reused. Three sizes available, from £3.91.

And what about the contents of your fridge? Are you always throwing away half-used jars and leftovers because you’re not sure how long they’ve been in your fridge? Self-adhesive memory joggers, like the Count On It labels from Lakeland, take the guesswork out of storing food safely. Just stick one on your packet or jar when you open it, scratch off to mark the date and you’ll know exactly when it was opened. They come in packs of 25 for £1.95.

■ For more fresh ideas to store and preserve your food for longer visit lakeland.co.uk

CHOOSE a Valentine’s gift that will pamper your sweetheart without spoiling the planet with a whole range of ideas from ecotopia.co.uk.

The goods support overseas projects that helps disadvantaged people live and work sustainably in Asia and Africa, from incense pebbles with inscribed words of love, hope and faith for only 97p to these leather heart keyrings for £2.45.

These are made from leather in a unit in the countryside near Kolkata in India. Their artisans are from nearby villages and live at the centre during the week. All employees receive a provident fund, pension, medical insurance and a yearly bonus which allows them to support their families and send their children to school.

■ Ecotopia. Tel: 0845-094-2181; ecotopia.co.uk BOOTS is offering advantage card holders up to 500 points when they recycle their mobile phones. The High Street pharmacy is giving out freepost envelopes with their instore magazine.

In addition to receiving the points, Boots will also give £1 to charity for every listed phone. And for inkjet cartridges, cardholders will receive up to 100 points and 20p for charity.

■ More information and envelopes are available at boots.com.recycle or 0845-707017.

PREPARE for much shoulder barging in H&M next summer. British designer Matthew Williamson is set to create an exclusive collection for the high street store. His colourdrenched collections will be available in selected shops from April 23, with further high-summer pieces in mid-May. In an exclusive for H&M, Williamson will also debut his first ever menswear pieces.