Food waste is a huge global problem! There is no denying it. A recent article in the Guardian reported that an estimated fifty percent of all American produce is thrown away. We all really need to go green, be more eco friendly and try and reduce food waste now!
The official numbers report that over 60 million (yes, million) tons of produce is lost, thrown away or rejected. That 60 million ton is the equivalent of nearly 160 billion (b for BILLION) dollars, literally one-third of all food stuffs.
A scale of which is nearly unimaginable!
It is waste on a pandemic level and perhaps more tragically, this waste is simply due to “imperfections”, which in layman’s terms, translates to not being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Or it is sold off to be feed for cattle and other farm animals. This figure does not even include the amount of land and water usage wasted either.
Food waste itself accounts for 8% of climate pollution more than, as the Guardian reported, the countries of Russia and India!
This is due to the methane released by food dumps which is more damaging than carbon dioxide. This problem will not simply go away, it requires world powers coming together and reorganizing entire industries.
The massive restructuring of factory farms, amending global supply chain guidelines, affecting government level change for private industries like grocery stores and shipping companies and perhaps the most stubborn of all, changing social and cultural thinking when it comes to food.
With so many hungry people around the world, it is truly shocking, tragic and disheartening to hear this hard truth.
The bigger pill to swallow though, is the sheer amount of food that actually goes to waste on a daily basis simply due to a public perception of what “acceptable” food is “supposed” to look like.
While it may be understandable that food is damaged and lost in transit from where it is grown to where it is eaten; the so called “farm to fork journey” what i find unacceptable is that one third is discarded and cast aside to fill up landfills and rot away.
We only have one Earth and as the overall world population continues to exponentially increase year on year, the need to curb food waste and go green (and inversely its overproduction) will become an increasingly hot issue in the years to come for citizens and politicians to argue over.
Especially given the issue’s proximity in relation to climate change (and we all know how “contentious” that issue is for some).
The best thing to do is to act now at a grassroots personal level by using these as guiding principles and then slowly expanding outward to pressure elected officials, governmental organizations, NGOs and private entities to shift and enact at a much larger scale.
The world’s food wasting habits are not likely to change overnight, so making the small steps suggested below will hopefully lead to an aggregate effect and significant change will pay off down the road.
We will probably not be living to see the reward for such commitment unfortunately, but our children and their childrens futures are at stake, so it’s truly worth making that change and being more eco friendly.
Here’s 8 simple steps to help go green and be more eco friendly with your food waste….
The old adage, “don’t shop when you’re hungry”, has never been truer.
When you go food shopping, know exactly how much food you will need for the week and be careful not to buy too much. Too often, the average consumer buys more food than is needed.
The food is typically left to waste away in the fridge. It helps to have a clear plan for your upcoming meals, as well as a list of only essential items.
This will help keep you from overbuying and getting distracted from what you really need.
Just as you don’t want to buy massive amounts of food, you shouldn’t cook more than you need at a time.
By properly portioning your food for each meal, you’ll be able to keep your food fresher for longer.
Try using smaller plates as well as avoiding overeating. If you do have more than you can manage, be sure to properly store your leftovers and make sure they don’t go to waste.
Instead of throwing everything in the fridge, be sure to know where your food will be better stored.
Vegetables and fruits should be stored outside of the fridge at room temperature.
Make sure meats like fish, chicken, and steak are stored in the freezer if they are not used soon after purchasing.
Keep track of every piece of food that you put in storage. To do this, you may want to have a list of that week’s shopping items as well as any leftovers.
Alternatively, keeping everything neatly organized will help you be able to identify any leftovers.
All new groceries should be moved to the back of the freezer, fridge, or store cupboard. This will keep you from forgetting about any unused food, ensuring that you eat it before eating your newer purchases.
Instead of throwing out all expired food, reduce food waste by doing your due diligence to determine its safety and quality.
Get together a log to keep track of expiration and best by dates, as well as inedible food that you are throwing out.
This will help you keep track of your spending and eating habits, as well as what tends to go to waste.
Depending on where you live, composting can be a bit of a challenge. Composting is ideal for consumers that have compost bins in their backyards or patios.
However, certain tools can be used to facilitate the composting process for flat dwellers and homeowners that don’t have a compost bin of their own.
With foods like vegetables, fruits, eggshells and milk, you will be able to turn your expired food into fertilizer enriched with nutrients.
Food that has not spoiled that you no longer want to use can be donated.
To help reduce food waste, look up local charities and food banks in you are to see if they are accepting food donations. Items like canned goods and dry foods are typically always welcome.
Consider donating used scraps and old food to farms for animal feed or composting purposes.
Preserve your food by getting into canning and pickling. Such is the case with fruit and similar goods.
By storing your food as canned and pickled versions, you will be able to store your food for months and even years.
As you work to save the planet and reduce food waste, be sure to make every effort to use anything you buy.
Use these tips as a guiding star when buying food, cooking it, storing it, and disposing of it.
The more attention we give to the way we treat our food, the better off the entire world will (hopefully) become.
What great tips can you share? How do you reduce food waste? Our other readers would love to hear in the comments below…
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