Every year, one third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost - either before or during harvest, in transportation or after it has been bought by a consumer. ONE THIRD - that equals about 1.3 billion tonnes!
While most food waste occurs way before the food reaches the supermarket shelves, private households are still a big contributor to food waste. When food is discarded, it’s not just food that is wasted. Think about all the resources it requires to bring food from the farm to your table: water to grow the crops, land for planting, fuel for powering harvest, transport and more.
It can be hard to wrap your head around these insanely high numbers and crazy facts but one thing we can all agree on is, that we have to do something about it and it has to be now. Below, we have gathered some tips that can help you reduce your own food waste. Remember that nobody's perfect and we have all been in a situation where we had to get rid of way-too-old-to-eat leftovers or a piece of overripe fruit so these are simply ways to help you avoid ending in those situations too often.
1. Make a meal plan and only buy what you need
Buying way more food than we actually eat happens for the the best of us but by planning meals and prepping a grocery list from home, it can easily be avoided. Whether a strict meal plan or a more flexible option works best for you, planning your meals ahead will help you know what groceries are needed throughout the week and help you use what you already have.
2. Buy from the reduced price section at the grocery store
More and more grocery stores have started reducing the price of foods that are about to expire/reach their 'best before' date or has some kind of damage. By buying these products will save food from going to waste and chances are that it is just as good as the food on the shelves - plus you will save money at the same time! Ignore if the food comes in plastic - you are doing more by preventing food waste.
Eat your short date food as soon as possible or stock up your freezer and eat it whenever it fits your meal plan.
3. Use your food scraps
Before you throw out or compost your food scraps, ask yourself if there is anything else you can do with them. Some leftovers that are normally considered food scraps can actually be eaten or regrown and others can be used in DIYs. Egg shells can be added to potting soil to provide a healthy dose of calcium to the plant, cauliflower leaves can be roasted and used as a side dish and stale bread can be made into french toast, croutons or bread crumbs. We have a full blog post planned for this topic so keep an eye out for that!
4. Learn what labels really mean
Just because a label says 'best before' it doesn't mean bad after. The best before date is about quality and not safety so the food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best. Use your senses to decide whether the food is still good to eat.
If the label on the other hands says 'use by', it means that you shouldn't eat it after for safety reasons no matter if it looks and smells fine. A lot of foods, including meat and milk, can be frozen before the use-by date so if you know you won't be able to eat it before it expires, you can easily freeze it and use it later.
5. Get creative
Made a big batch of chili sin carne but not in the mood for eating it three days in a row? We get it, we've been there but throwing it out is a no-go! Instead, get creative with your leftover food and think of ways to make a new dish out of it. An example could be to use leftover chili sin carne in tortilla with some added vegetables - now you have a delicious burrito!
Let us know in the comments below what you do to reduce your own food waste or if you could use some of the tips we have shared!