fbpx

Be better | Food Waste

Be better | Food Waste

We’re just going to jump straight into this one.

Did you know that enough food is being produced today to feed every single person on our planet? And yet, world hunger is a persistent and pervasive problem that affects around 9.9% of the global population, leaving up to 800 million people suffering from malnutrition, and starving. 

It begs the question…

Where the eff is the food?! 

Food is treated as a disposable commodity and the issue of food waste is snowballing at a rapid rate. In fact, one third of all food intended to reach the mouths of humans is wasted and ends up in the trash. Just imagine that the next time you order a meal at a restaurant – “Dinner for two please, plus a third for the bin on the way out.” Now imagine doing that with every single thing you consume. Every single day. 

All this waste is certainly not making its way to the hungry mouths for which it was intended, but it is feeding one thing… 

Environmental Enemy No. 1: Climate change. 

When we squander food (as well as the time, energy and water it has taken to grow, harvest, package and transport it) we’re basically sending it off to landfills where it decays and produces methane – a deadly greenhouse gas. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “If food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the United States. The resources needed to produce the food that becomes lost or wasted has a carbon footprint of about 3.3 billion tons of CO2.” 

Fortunately, people are starting to wake up to this alarming reality and steps are being taken. Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals aims to cut down food waste by half by 2030. This would make a world of difference considering that if just 25% of the food currently being lost or wasted globally was saved, it would be enough to feed the 800 million starving people around the world.

While there have been significant actions taken and commitments made through public-private partnerships to date, there is still much work to be done. And it all starts at home. We all need to be more mindful of the immense amount of food that we waste, and make a conscious effort to #bebetter.

Here are a few simple ways you can start to reduce your own food waste at home:

PLAN!

Plan, plan, plan. We cannot stress it enough. The majority of food waste is a result of bad planning. End of story. Buying too much, not preparing meals in advance, watching food rot because it hasn’t been stored properly. The list goes on. Take the time to do a food waste audit of your pantry and your fridge. This is an easy way to find out how much food you’re throwing away. From there, be mindful. Make a grocery list when you do your shopping (don’t shop when hungry!), plan your meals in advance, freeze food that can be stored for future use, and store fresh food properly to avoid it going off. Planning is everything.  

ADOPT THE ROOT TO STEM PHILOSOPHY

The ‘root to stem’ philosophy is all about reducing your food waste by using every part of the product. Like its counterpart, the ‘nose to tail’ philosophy which sees unpopular cuts of meat used for cooking broths or stews so as not to waste any part of the animal, ‘root to stem’ sees no part of the fruit or vegetable going to waste. There are a range of cooking techniques that show innovative and creative ways to increase flavour, boost the nutrient content, and lower food costs by using every part of your edible plant. 

HOMEGROWN IS BEST

If you’re stumped on how to use all the parts of your fruits or vegetables, why not try growing healthy, delicious produce from the inedible parts of the plants? Garlic can be grown from a single clove, tomatoes from salvaged seeds, and even new potatoes can be sowed from nothing but their sprouting eyes. There are a huge range of environmental benefits that come from tending your own vegetable garden, and valuable lessons to be learnt in sustainable practices. And, let’s be honest, when you grow your own herbs, fruit and vegetables you are less likely to waste it as you appreciate the time, energy, resources and effort that has gone into producing the food, right? A lesson in mindfulness and the bigger picture right there. 

IF IN DOUBT, COMPOST

If you haven’t found ways to use up leftovers, kitchen scraps and odds and ends of produce, then composting is the sustainable option to throwing food in the trash and sending it to landfill. With good composting practices and knowledge on how to store your compost properly, you will be creating a circular system that could improve the quality of your homegrown plants and reduce your waste. 

Food waste is a bigger problem than many people actually realise. If you think it does not affect you, think again. Tossing perfectly good edible food doesn’t just waste money, it is directly linked to the biggest threat our modern society has ever faced. Let’s #bebetter.

Have you read our previous #bebetter blog series?

How to adopt a zero waste lifestyle

10 sustainable alternatives for your morning routine

Related Posts
Leave a Reply