To reduce food waste and save money – these should be every household’s agenda. The amount of unnecessary food wastage is simply astounding as every year about 1.3 billion tonnes of food produce is lost or thrown away before it ever reaches the shopper. Nearly one billion hungry people could have their empty stomachs filled on less than a quarter of the food wasted by the US and Europe. And this isn’t even including the unnecessary waste we make in our daily activities.
But it’s not too late to late for us to reduce food waste! With seven clever and uncomplicated tips, not only can we help the environment (according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 6.7 percent of anthropogenic/human-caused global greenhouse gases are generated from wasted food), you can effectively trim a few bucks from your budget too!
With food prices rising every year and no relief in sight, meal planning, grocery lists and abstinence from impulse buying must be prioritized. Avoid buying things you don’t need and cannot consume – that helps reduce food waste and expenses simultaneously! Do a reconnaissance mission on your refrigerator and pantry to check what you’ve got and what you need. Scout out grocery stores offering great deals or having sales to clear out their soon-to-expire stocks, you can do it online or even personally if you’re out and about.
If you get others in on this, then you can help each other out by scouting out great deals ahead of time. You can help each one another out by organizing Grocery Runs and start including more people in the group if you’re feeling ambitious.
Purchase only the items that you plan to use in the exact amount you need. Wait until they’re all finished up before your next visit to the grocery store. Also, be always realistic. For example, if you live on your own, then you won’t need to cook a meal for a family of five. If you tend to eat out, then don’t stock up too much on perishable goods (meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, vegetables & dairy, starch and grain products).
Or Buy in Bulk!
If you know what you’re doing then you can save up and reduce food waste by buying in bulk. This has to be planned, because a careless and impulsive bulk purchase will do the exact opposite of reducing costs and waste! Look out for sales or promos so the bulk buy won’t burn through your wallet. This is especially handy if you are buying for a group of people (or are asking someone a favor). Or if you have organized the aforementioned Grocery Runs. If you all need the same thing, or if what you guys need just so happen to be on sale… then it’s a great reason to buy buy buy!
Can It or Pickle It
Did you buy too many peaches and berries for the fruit tart you baked last night? Don’t feel like finishing the excess? You haven’t found a recipe for the artichoke hearts and fiddlehead ferns? Wait, don’t let them spoil or end up in the garbage! Through canning you can enjoy them later when the craving for them returns. Fruits can be pickled like with vegetables. Go share recipes with friends for fun. Try starting a business of homemade preserves to earn a little extra income and discover your hidden ingenuity for food. If you don’t know how to can or pickle food, then ask someone a favor. Either have them help you preserve ‘em or even teach you how to do it yourself!
Love Your Leftovers
Put leftovers to their most delicious use instead of letting ’em go to waste! Overripe fruits can still be used for making pies or juiced. There are stacks of recipes for leftovers that melt in your mouth on the second day than they were on the first serving and they’re cunningly money-saving. Casseroles don’t have to be just for Thanksgiving, after all!
Bits and Pieces Today, Plant Food Tomorrow
Even though we want to reduce food waste, we can’t eliminate all the scraps… but they can still be put to good use! If you’re into gardening, or know someone into gardening, then one person’s trash can literally be someone else’s treasure. Or fertilizer, at least. Food scraps make up 15.5 percent of the total trash thrown away in California’s waste system. But if you create a compost pile instead of tossing the scraps out, you can get healthier soil and help Mother Nature. Instead of ending up in a landfill, the waste will be used well!
You can practice reciprocity with your garden. If you grow fruits and vegetables with the “fertilizer ingredients” from others, then be sure to repay them with produce!
“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged lightly.” ~ M.F.K Fisher
Do you have a can of Vienna sausages, mushroom soup or beans that you don’t plan on eating any time sooner (and hasn’t reached its expiration date)? 795 million people out of the total 7.3 billion global population are hungry. You can help lessen their suffering by donating your uneaten canned goods to nearest food bank.
It’s even better if you personally know someone who could use the goodies. Work with each other to keep your pantries stay stocked even when you’re too busy to head to the shop. This is great with roommates, housemates and workmates and you can always include more people in on this arrangement.
“Your value will be not what you know, it will be what you share.” ~ Ginni Rometty
Now you know of the ramifications of food wastage and what can prevent such a dystopian future. This affects everyone, from you yourself, your children, your community and even the generations to come. Make your voice heard starting from the dinner table until it becomes global in scale!