How to Minimize Food Waste
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Do you know that food waste is the single largest component going to methane-generating landfills? According to the US Department of Agriculture, food waste is estimated to be 133 billion lbs, costing $161 billion (2010). Food that could have helped so many hungry families is sent to landfills and all the resources used to bring the food to our homes are wasted. Our planet is in urgent and desperate need for us to start changing our daily habits. Here are ways you can minimize food waste:
Don't shop hungry and plan ahead
We've all been there. We go to the grocery store hungry and buy everything in sight. To solve this, always carry a nutritious, filling snack, or eat something beforehand. Don't forget to plan out your meals for the week and buy what you’re going to eat. If you end up buying too many items, they'll go bad eventually.
Utilize leftovers & freeze food
Use what’s in your fridge first. Make a tomato soup or a pasta sauce with leftover tomatoes. Same with spinach, add it to your smoothies or make a pesto sauce. Make desserts and mayo with egg yolks. For chicken bones, try a home-made broth. If you overbuy - freeze the excess. For example, frozen bananas make a great base for smoothies. If you’re worried about eggs or milk expiring, make pancakes in bulk and pop them in your freezer.
Keep the skin
If you’re buying organic, there’s no need to peel the skin off of everything (unless you have a health condition preventing you from doing so). Fruit and vegetable skins are full of fiber and nutrients. Just make sure you wash them well before consumption.
Separate food waste from normal waste
You won't have to take the trash out all the time because normal trash won’t be filled as fast when you separate it from food waste. In addition, this will give you an idea of what food you’re throwing away, how much you’re throwing away and if there’s anything you can do about it.
Keep track of your pin
Relating to the previous step, if you see that you’re throwing away a lot of apples, buy less. If you notice that leftover vegetables are occupying a lot of your bin space, find recipes and ways you can eat or freeze the veggies before the expiration date.
Consider buying local produce
Buying local is good for your area’s economy, for the environment and for your health. Unless imported food is injected with life-preserving chemicals, local fruits and vegetables won’t go bad as fast since they travel short distances.
Use a food recycler
If you have a backyard, there’s no reason why you can’t have a compost. I know they’re smelly and full of bugs, but you don’t have to do this the old fashion way. Zera Food Recycler promises to turn food waste into fertilizer in 24 hours. Keep in mind, Zera is not the only electric compost in the market; there are a lot of alternatives. Food recyclers make it easy to compost food in an apartment.
Scrape your plates clean
Take every grain of rice out of the pot and eat all the food on your plate. If you're unable to do so, put the leftover (no matter how small) in a Tupperware and into the fridge to mix with your next meal. Growing up poor, I learned to save leftover food even if it was one bite.
Give food waste to someone else
If you live in an apartment and your city doesn’t obligate organic food separation then consider donating your food waste to a nearby farm or to someone who has a backyard.
Share food with Olio
If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you can use the Olio app. What is it exactly? “OLIO is a free app connecting people with their neighbors and with local shops so surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away.”For Apple users, get Olio on the App Store. It's also available in the Google Play store.
Search your area for waste utilization
Your local government will most likely carry all information related to food waste on their official website. Search on how you can minimize food waste and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, contact the representatives.
Start a movement
If there’s nothing available in your community to help people waste less food than it’s a perfect opportunity for you to develop a plan to combat this problem. Research other areas that have a food waste system and come up with a solution tailored to your community and pitch it to the officials.