Reducing Food Waste As A Consumer: Practical Tips To Eat More and Toss Less.
Food waste has become a lingo; According to FAO, 1/3 of the food we produce globally is lost or wasted. In the U.S. $212 billion worth of food is wasted annually; that is, about $1,800 for an average family of four.
Furthermore, the Johns Hopkins study reveals that if we could recover all the food sent to landfills, it would provide a 2,000 calorie diet to 84% of the US population. Food waste is indeed one of the most pressing environmental issues and the change begins with YOU as a consumer to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
How to reduce food waste at home:
When we waste food we also waste the land, water, fossil fuels and labour used in the production. Without further ado, here are great tips to help you curb food waste as a consumer:
- Shop smarter: According to industry figures, more than half of our purchases at the supermarket are impulse buys. Thus, becoming conscious of food waste means upholding meal planning to the optimum. To the best of your ability, we recommend planning your weekly food supply ahead of time and buying only what you need; the old-time approach of making a shopping list based on recipe quantities would be highly instrumental in preventing the purchase of unnecessary items
- Freeze: The freezing technology has been modernized tremendously over the past few decades. With the acronym FIFO ‘First In, First Out’ being coined as a reminder to consume perishable items in the order they are purchased. That is, stock meals in your freezer by bringing the oldest items to the front and placing the newly bought items behind.
- Leftovers 2.0: According to a study by the European Commission, 42% of food waste in the EU can be attributed to consumers. Considerably, it helps to plan when you would eat your leftovers without making assumptions they would get eaten for being in the fridge. We highly recommend switching up how you use leftovers so they don’t get boring; get on with your ‘use-it-up’ recipes.
- Understand “sell by”and “use by” dates: “They’re not based on any safety test,” says Emily Broad Leib, director of the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School. “Most are just manufacturers’ suggestions for quality, and they vary widely.” If you regularly toss items into the bin whose dates say they’ve just expired, you’re probably wasting ‘perfectly fine’ foods.
- Store them: Learn to store right using the right kind of container/jar. We recommend using airtight, date-labeled containers.
- Ugly is beautiful: As a consumer, you are encouraged to buy those “ugly” or unevenly shaped fruits and vegetables that are just as good but look a little different.
- Compost: While some food waste might be inevitable, you can get creative by setting up a compost bin. Composting converts food waste into a resource for food production. This can be done in your own backyard or on farmland. Be generous to the soil worms if you can’t eat it!
- Donate the surplus: Sharing is caring; we are advocates for reaching out to charities like Robin food, created to enable eco-conscious people get surplus food that would otherwise end in a landfill
In conclusion, changes in consumer behavior will ultimately consolidate the global food economy. Hence, before you toss that meal remember there are 820 million hungry individuals in the world. Freezing, canning, and drying are essential skills in a waste-conscious household. Make a change today!