Would it surprise you to learn that a whooping 30-50% of all food worldwide is thrown out as garbage and waste?
Two weeks ago France made the incredible move to ban supermarkets from throwing out or destroying unsold foods. Forcing them instead to give the leftovers to charities or to be reprocessed for animal food or compost. Food wastage contributes millions of tons to landfills every year and is a detriment for the economy, the climate and to humanitarianism. Supermarkets, food retailers and restaurants throw out large amounts of food every day because it is past restrictive use-by-dates, if its not aesthetically pleasing or due to large uneaten portion sizes and low food prices. Rather than providing to charities that feed the homeless this food is most often discarded and destroyed. The excess of buying versus what's ending up as waste is causing a huge drain on agriculture in water costs and farming only to have little price value to sell at due to high quantity demand. Reducing food waste could save hundreds of billions for the global economy every year.
Last week Tesco, one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK has followed suit saying that it will no longer throw out or destroy unsold foods. It's fantastic to see people and big corporations taking humanitarian and environmentally conscious action. Unfortunately though the majority of food waste; 67% comes from us the consumers! Over purchasing, fussy eating and forgetfulness results in massive amounts of food ending up in our bins. We may think that because its organic waste this isn't a problem. In fact decomposing food produces methane, a greenhouse gas that heavily contributes to climate change even more so than carbon.
So how can we reduce our own food waste?
Don't over shop! Avoid impulse or bulk-buy savings that leave you with unused food decaying in your pantries and fridges
Say yes to funny shaped fruit and vegetables! Things don't always grow in perfect shapes but nutritionally and taste wise they're exactly the same yet much more likely to be thrown out by retailers.
Eat your leftovers! Rather than making something up from scratch every night and throwing away over-portions reuse it the next day for lunches or dinner. If you don't want it right away you can freeze many meals and reheat at a later date.
Know how to store your food. Check recommended storage information, whether it's pantry, fridge or freezer and make sure your cooling settings are correct. In some warmer climates you may need to refrigerate more types of foods to avoid spoilage.
If you're into gardening a compost heap is a great way to make plant food and repurpose your fruit and vegetable waste and skins.
- Feed the pets! Dogs will eat just about anything particularly meaty leftovers. If you've got guinea pigs or rabbits they'll love your veggie and fruit scraps.
Give to charity. Got lots of cans of food sitting in the cupboard? Find out which local charities accept food donations and what types and give back rather than throwing away.