5 Ways To Reduce Food Waste
Today marks International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste - a day created as a call to action to understand the effects of our extreme food wastage and to prioritise our collective efforts needed to reduce it.
Much like fashion, the food industry has a throwaway culture, which often results in perfectly edible food being thrown away and wasted, both at the pre-harvesting stage or post-retail. Not only do the resources required to produce the food create greenhouse gases, but the disposal of the unused food generates huge amounts of emissions that are devastating to the planet.
“If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter after China and the USA.” (WRAP)
Shockingly, the yearly UK food wastage alone is enough to feed the entire UK population 3 meals a day for 11 weeks. So what can we do to reduce our food loss and wastage?
1. Plan your shopping and meals
Being extra organised in your food shopping and meal prepping will mean that you buy what you need and avoid impulse buying things you don’t need - good for your wallet and the planet!
2. Buy ‘ugly’ fruit and veg
Just like people, fruit/veg come in all shapes and sizes, yet so much produce gets thrown away before it even reaches the shop floor, due to it not fitting our conventional ideas of what it should look like. At the end of the day, they all taste the same!
Tip: buy products towards the end of their ‘best by date’ and chuck them in smoothies or use for baking, they are usually reduced and taste better when riper anyway!
3. Know your food labels
Understanding the difference between when food is unsafe to eat and when it is ‘best before’ plays an important role in reducing waste. As a rule of thumb, meat/fish or dairy products should be consumed by the ‘use by’ date, whereas fruits/vegetables and cupboard ingredients have a bit more leniency.
4. Be clever with your waste
It is fairly inevitable to create some waste but there are ways to deal with it that reduce your environmental impact. For example, if you have fruit/veg that you won’t be able to use in time, you can freeze them whole or, if their texture is likely to deteriorate (think tomatoes and strawberries), you can cook them and puree to use in sauces, smoothies etc at a later date. If all else fails, try to compost your waste as it adds nutrients back to the soil and reduces your carbon footprint.
5. Sharing is caring
Ask neighbours or use apps to share your excess food with your local community. There are also food donation banks for non-perishable items that could help to feed someone in need.
Written by Rebecca Jackson, Stories Behind Things