Food waste is a big problem, we have compiled some information that will help you take steps to cut food waste and also save money.
What’s Food Waste?
Any food that’s not eaten or thrown away is considered food waste.
FAO estimates that about 1/3rd of the food produced is wasted every year.
According to ReFED in US alone food waste uses about 21% of fresh water and 18% of crop land space.
According to NRDC theoretically in US alone the amount of food wasted can feed 150 MM people.
Even though food waste occurs throughout supply chain, in US over 80% occurs at homes (43%) and restaurants (40%).According to EPA more food reaches our landfills than any other single material in our waste stream.
Why food waste is a problem?
Food waste is a big problem not just for the environment but also our wallets:
Food waste in landfills decomposes anaerobically and releases methane. Over 8% of GHG emissions result from waste emissions alone. It’s 1/3rd of GHG emissions produced by Agriculture, Forestry and other land use (24% of total GHG)
Production of food uses finite resources and when we waste food we waste those resources. In 2018-2019 it is estimated that in US alone $218 billion were spent growing, processing and disposing of the food that never found our stomachs.
An average American throws away over 1pound of food that they paid for. Literally throwing money away.
How can we reduce our food waste?
Since most of the food waste happens at home we can make the biggest difference that not only is good for the planet but also for our wallets. We as individuals have power in this case to bring the most change without breaking the bank. Here are 6 ways in which we can cut down food waste
- Keep track of what’s in your fridge and pantry to avoid buying what you already have
- Plan your weekly meals before shopping, it’s a great way to cut down excess buying. Shop your fridge first before adding items to your list.
- Research best ways to store perishable foods like bread, milk, potato, salad greens etc.
- Bread can be frozen for up to 6 months, You can toast frozen bread directly or thaw it for a soft slice
- Milk can also be frozen for a few months
- Potatoes should be stored at room temperature away from onions and bananas as ripe bananas and onions produce gases as they ripen that make other fruits and vegetables ripen too.
- Salad greens are best stored wrapped in a paper towel in a container that allows leaves to not be too congested.
- Know the difference between “Use by” and “Best Before” dates. A lot of food is wasted due to not knowing if food is safe to it.
- A "Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.
- A “Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below.
- A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- Cook the perishable ingredients and then freeze them to eat later. For example soups can be cooked and frozen for months.
- A lot of times we throw away parts of vegetables that are perfect to consume. For example carrot leaves make an excellent pesto. You can even stir fry them.
These are just some of the many tips. Please share with us some of your favourite tips to reduce the food waste that occurs at our homes.