According to the United Nations Environmental Program, around 1.3 billion tonnes of food are either lost or wasted every year around the world. This food waste not only hurts those in need, but it also greatly affects the environment, due to the large amounts of energy required to produce and to dispose of this wasted food.
There is no doubt that food waste has been one of the biggest issues plaguing modern society for a long time. For us here at Haumana, minimizing food waste is one of our most important missions, which is why we only produce our bars based on the exact demand of our customers. But fighting food waste is not only something we can do at our workplace, we should strive to do it in our personal lives as well. As mentioned earlier, a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. About 570 million tonnes of that wasted food is actually created by regular households, which means there is a significant amount of work that we, as individuals, can do to fight against food waste.
There are always things we can do to lower the amount of food that we waste, so we thought we would make a small list of 6 tips to reduce food waste in order to help promote a less wasteful lifestyle.
1. Buying only what you can consume
This one goes without saying, but it is still a very important way to reduce food waste. It can be easy to get carried away by those sweet deals that we see at the supermarket, but it’s very important to only buy food that you can use before the expiry date. A shocking amount of food is tossed out simply because the expiration date passed before a household could use it.
2. Make use of leftover food and ingredients
Making use of leftovers is great when you have a meal that you didn’t quite finish, but it’s also important to make use of the leftover ingredients that were used while cooking. Sometimes it can be hard to fit all of your ingredients in a single dish but you can add your leftover ingredients to some of your other meals to make sure that you waste as little food as possible.
So for example, if you have leftover broccoli from a stew recipe that you just made, you can use the rest of the broccoli as a snack with some sort of dip on the side!
3. Store food correctly
This one is also self-explanatory, but it’s still important to store food in the right containers and at the right temperatures to ensure that they will last as long as possible. Not sure if you’ll be immediately using those potatoes that you just bought? Store them in the fridge so that they will stay fresher for longer!
4. Plan your meals ahead of time
It’s important to plan your meals for the week every time you buy groceries. Knowing exactly what you’ll cook ahead of time will give you a good idea of the exact portions that you need for the week, without wasting as much food.
In most areas there are food banks, religious groups and shelters that would gladly accept donations of food. It would be a great way to make sure that your food isn’t going to waste, and it also would be providing a helping hand to those who need it.
Of course, it’s important to always check whether donations of perishable foods are accepted before making a donation.
6. Moving older food to the front of your fridge
A surprising amount of food is wasted simply because it is forgotten at the back of the fridge. Moving older food towards the front of the fridge helps you keep an eye on the expiration dates and on what you should eat first.
Food waste is a major issue around the world, especially in first-world countries. Anything that we can do individually to combat this problem should be done, and we should encourage others to follow suit as well. And if you still have food that you really can't eat, you can throw it in the compost bin instead of the trash!
Even though some of the tips listed above seem to be quite obvious, they can be easily forgotten, and they can go a long way into helping us minimize our individual food waste.