Food waste is one of the biggest problems in our world today. Every year in the United Kingdom, 18 million tonnes of food ends up in the landfill. Approximately a third of this waste is caused by the producers and the supply chain, another third from the retail and a third from the consumers. This issue has negative effects on the environment (waste of resources) but also to our economy (high landfill costs to dispose of) and our pockets.
The world produces enough food to feed everyone. For the world as a whole, per capita, caloric availability and food diversity (the variety of food groups in a diet) have increased between the 1960s and 2011 (FAO, 2017). This growth in food availability, along with improved access to food, helped reduce the percentage of chronically undernourished people in lower-middle-income countries from about 30 per cent in 1990-92 to about 13 per cent two decades later (FAO, 2017 – worldhunger.org).
It takes water, energy and fuel to produce the food we all love.
Half of the food we throw away can be eaten, therefore by keeping it out of the bin, we are protecting the environment and our pockets at the same time.
Here are a few things I do to minimise our family’s food waste.
- I don’t physically go to the grocery shops anymore. I order online and I only buy what we are likely to eat for the week ahead.
- If I need to top-up halfway through the week I try to spend as little times as possible in the store and I stick to my shopping list – which most of the time includes perishables that will only take me through to the end of the week.
- I subscribed to an organic veggie and fruit box service which allows me to pause the deliveries if I haven’t consumed the previous week’s produce.
- I try to buy tinned food and pasta/rice in bulk where possible. This way I do not need to shop for food supplies often.
- I make our food from scratch. I do not love cooking nor do I have the time to prepare complicated meals but there are some quick and easy recipes online that I refer to on a daily basis. I keep my cooking simple by using the fewer ingredients possible but I choose good quality and seasonal vegetables.
- I always cook extra portions the day before for my children’s lunch boxes.
- I say no to the kids on shopping for treats every day after school. Instead, I offer them whatever we have at home. This way the fresh fruits/vegetables & bread are less likely to go to waste.
- Finding a different way to eat certain foods can be very rewarding too! A few favourite examples are, pasta sauce used as a sandwich spread, tahini as a salad dressing and apple pieces dipped in peanut butter.
- When I have leftovers I use them in a different recipe the next day.
- I measure the food to make sure that I don’t cook more than what we will consume.
- I try to keep a small number of items in stock and I like to see my food cupboards half – empty. This makes deciding what to cook an easy task as I don’t get overwhelmed by the number of ingredients need consuming. Furthermore, I can quickly check what items I need to repurchase!
- I actually do not store a lot of things in the freezer because – if I do – I still find myself keep buying fresh ingredients forgetting what I have in the freezer anyway.
- Finally, ‘buy less buy better’ is also relevant when it comes to food purchasing and consuming. Keep your cupboards minimally stocked and be creative when cooking using fewer ingredients, fresh and locally sourced when possible.
In today’s society, we have the illusion that food is disposable. The relatively low prices and constant supply have made us lost our connection to where our food comes from and its true value. The fact is that wasting food wastes, water, land, energy, labour & money.
Are you committed to reducing food waste? What are your favourite tips? Share in the comments below or get in touch with me on Twitter @elenadaniilidou .