Food Waste is not an unusual thing for people to do in their daily lifestyle. We all know that food is the most integral part of one’s lifestyle. And it doesn’t hold any restrictions when it comes to regions, community, or race. Food is loved by all, eaten by all, enjoyed and cherished by all. Food is also associated with celebrations, happiness, occasion, and many other positive milestones when it comes to one’s life.
And over this journey, lots of food also gets wasted. It is also considered inauspicious in many cultures to not waste food. But considering that aside, on the go, we discard food, take extra food and not eat, put it in the trash, and buy a lot of unnecessary food. And who likes to see the food getting wasted isn’t it?
Do you know almost 1 third of all the food produced globally is wasted or lost or just goes in the trash? Because when we talk about food getting wasted it doesn’t only apply to the food, lots of labor goes waste, time hard-work, skills, water, land, energy, etc. goes waste as well. Food waste is responsible for 8% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the world and that’s huge because of this sheer ignorance, which is leading to an ecological disaster.
This hurts, even more, to know that so many people in this world are fighting hunger and malnourishment. As we all know that world hunger is not decreasing and is on the constant rise especially after covid19, even the SDG goals are trying hard to achieve these goals. Globally around 9-10% of the world population goes to an empty stomach at night and that’s not a small percentage because the world population is 7.8 Billions, which makes it almost 800 million people going hungry and through severe malnourishment.
Even lots of people are out of reach with a healthy diet if not hungry. Malnourishment is another problem which is another side of the coin. The least we can do is organize ourselves to waste less food, donate, plan and be very very conscious for utilizing what we already have.
BENEFITS OF REDUCING FOOD WASTE / WHY WE SHOULD STOP WASTING FOOD RIGHT AWAY
When it comes to benefits or the importance of not wasting or reducing food waste, here are few positive results you can get out of it. UN states that if only 1 quarter of otherwise wasted food is restored and reduced, the food will be enough to feed the people fighting hunger and malnourishment.
So here are some benefits :
Obviously, it conserves energy
Reduces methane emissions from the landfills
Cut down on manufacturing and production pollution
Saves a lot of water
Cuts down transportation and distribution resources
Overall reduces the carbon footprint
Cuts down on labor and land waste
Saves you money and lowers your bills
Do not waste the skill set of laborers and farmers
If you waste less, you spend less and you save more
If you donate then it helps local communities
Provides nutritious food to needy households
WHY REDUCING FOOD WASTE IS SO IMPORTANT CURRENTLY – SOME FACTS
Then the question arises why in the world would you be doing that. What is the urgency? Why should you be acting on it urgently? So here are some food waste facts that cannot be ignored when it comes to food safety, food reach, and food waste.
1 in 9 people doesn’t have food to eat in this world.
There is more than enough food for everyone to sustain and feed.
1/4 of the food waste if otherwise not wasted, is enough for feeding the rest of the people who don’t have access to food or who go on an empty stomach at night.
Do you know that the organic or food waste decomposing in a landfill produces methane..which is more severe than carbon dioxide?
In a landfill, organic waste takes a much longer time to decompose compared to otherwise because of lack of oxygen.
Reducing food wastage is the 3rd most workable way for climate action to fight climate change.
YOU CAN READ MORE FOOD WASTE FACTS here.
TIPS TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE, PRACTICES TO CUT DOWN FOOD WASTE AT HOME, AND IDEAS TO USE IT WISELY
Let’s read in, about how 20 simple habits can save you lots of food wastage. Read on :
UNDERSTAND THE EXPIRY DATE AND CUTTING FOOD WASTE
Now, what is this expired date? There are two things, “sell by” which is usually for the stores to let them know that that how long can they put this on the shelf and for how long it should be sold. The “sell by” date is the last day the item is at its highest level of quality, but it will still be edible for some time after.
Then comes “Best before”. This refers to the quality and not safety. This only signifies the quality of the product is not at its peak of quality but it is still usable. Understanding these, you can definitely plan and use your otherwise thrown or wasted products.
COMPOST TO CUT DOWN YOUR SCRAP WASTE
COMPOSTING your food scraps is not only good for your environment and reducing food waste but also makes great compost and fertilizer that is great for plants and vegetables. Outdoor balcony, courtyard, or a garden, you can compost anywhere but if you live indoors, look for vermicomposting where the worms do all the work and help you compost.
As we already know by now that organic and food waste produces methane in the landfills and take a long time to decompose. To get an idea, a lettuce head takes 25 years to decompose in a landfill. By composting it at individual levels you reduce the methane emissions efficiently, saves transportation, and produce the organic fertilizers.
DONATE OR REDIRECT WHAT YOU DO NOT USE
You can definitely donate what you don’t eat or want to throw otherwise. Give it to the needy, make your friends eat, or give someone who is hungry. Look for organizations who are looking for donations, and have great and extraordinary plans to redirect your otherwise wasted food to certain organizations/ to people / to needy / to underprivileged for reducing its wastage. Small steps and initiatives that are building blocks to make a sustainable and waste-free world should be appreciated.
One such organization is YINDII who is trying to help at a local scale. They deal with the high-quality surplus, delicious, and perfectly edible food, that stores and restaurants have to throw out at the end of the day. This ranges from supermarkets that have fresh groceries that weren’t sold, premium bakeries that need to bake fresh every day, or buffet restaurants that refill quality food up to the last hour.
FREEZE YOUR FOOD PROPERLY
The food doesn’t get wasted until you waste it and it totally depends a lot on how you are freezing and storing the food. freezing the food in a certain way need technique and knowledge so that it sustains and remain fresh for a long time. So for reducing wastage, it becomes very important how you freeze and store your food to keep it fresh, full of nutrients, and never let the benefits fly away.
For a better freezing food guide tap in here: https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-freeze-foods-3897631
PRESERVE THE FOOD
Home preserve food is always the best because obviously as the name says, it preserves the harvest, it saves you a lot of money, organizes you in a better way, adds more variety to your food, stock up more flavors, ensures safety, and tastes better.
There are numerous numbers of ways to preserve food at home by methods using salting, sugaring, freezing, fermenting, drying, heating, etc are some of the easy ways that can be adopted and executed easily at home without much of the hassle and fancy essentials. Just basic kitchen ingredients and natural resources like sun and clean water.
USE IT ON PLANTS
You can put lots of food in the plants also which act as a fertilizer to them. Pasta water, boiled potato water without salt, eggshells, used natural tea, flower tea, etc are many things that you can throw in the plants and it can help them grow faster and better. Also, banana peels soaked in water are an excellent source of nutrients for the plants. so yes..don’t simply waste and put everything out there. See what you can repurpose, use it as fertilizers, food, or any other utility to reduce the food waste.
REPURPOSE IN KITCHEN
A lot of food can be repurposed in the kitchen and home directly or indirectly. Foods like orange peels, green stems, apple peels, potato skin, cucumber seeds etc. can be repurposed to add in to the soups, stocks, crispy chips, smoothies. Repurposing and redirecting the food otherwise wasted is a very smart way to cut down on one’s food waste count.
MAKE SKINCARE AND HAIRCARE BODYCARE
RECIPES HERE: https://www.youtube.com/c/NATIVEKEEPS/videos
We tend to invest a lot in cosmetics and skincare products because we think that it is a necessity to purchase consumer goods. Homemade cleaning products that are made with food or edible natural sources, from your kitchen, give you a sense of satisfaction with the type of ingredients you have used in your mixture. Homemade cleaning products can also be modified with the range of your necessity so it’s always a go-to thing currently.
And in these trying times of pandemic, when superstores have limited accessibility, homemade cleaning products work wonders especially made with kitchen waste. oats brans, strawberry, potato, peas, papaya, coffee grounds, and the list goes on.
CARRY YOUR OWN FOOD
Carrying your own food adds a lot to not wasting and consuming food waste. When you carry your own food, you tend to buy less, waste less, discard less and create less trash in the environment. Easy healthy home-cooked food with what is seasonal, local, and climate-friendly is always beneficial. Moreover, it makes your kitchen clutter free and up and running. And the wastage of vegetables and food getting discarded is reduced drastically in a lot in many aspects.
TAKE ONLY HOW MUCH YOU NEED
Another great way to cut down on food wastage is to restrict ourselves is our food portions. We can definitely take again if we think that we need to eat or consume more. But taking more and then not eating is not the right practice and habit to cut down on food wastage. So next time make sure that you only take what can you eat to avoid throwing of the food in the wastage.
INFUSE / BLEND / STOCK UP
Another great way to reduce food waste is by stocking up the food. Make vegetable stocks, dry them , infuse with oil, blend and consume, soup it up and do many things that can reduce and repurpose the food you have.
EAT FULL EGGS AND REST OF THE FOODS
I know health, diets, and the type of food you eat is very important these days. Especially “eating this or that”, “not eating this part” and “throwing” is a very routine and common tendency these days. Eat the egg white, throw the yellow, eat only starch free rice, throw the water, boil the lentils, throw the water, throw the skin, don’t eat the pulp, don’t eat mango, don’t eat the banana, don’t eat the cream and don’t even touch the skin, etc are few myths or let me say beliefs in the health market these days.
These are many myths and standards set in the society. For me what works is that you can obviously eat everything, watch what is going in your body, you are counting or tracking the calories, and restricting what is not needed by the body. So plan and watch accordingly. Track what you eat and do not throw edible stuff.
SAVE THE SEEDS
You should be saving seeds for the fact that is a win-win. It’s great for health as well. Seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, sesame, basil, etc. all you can save and eat for better health. Adding more to this, home saved seeds are obviously free, easy to reproduce better because it is suited to the climate and conditions, you eat clean, waste less and they are climate-ready. So do not throw the seeds instead save and consume.
USE ALL AND EVERY IMPERFECT FOOD
Ok, the next thing we have noticed in many households that people tend to discard a badly shaped apple or oddly cut vegetables. It’s so weird and surprising because why would one do that. There are many people and children in this world who struggle to get even one meal in a day and here we are choosing over the shapes and beauty of vegetables and fruits and other things when it does not matter to a bit. So chuck out this strange habit if you have and don’t even promote it. Use all and embrace all foods in whatever shape they come in.
KEEP YOUR FRIDGE CLUTTER FREE
If your fridge is clutter-free, you get lots of space and air, and visibility on what is available to you. The ways by which you can utilize the food you have is by keeping your fridge clutter-free. If space is cleaned, the better it is for you to plan, schedule, and prioritize what needs to go first.
STORE THE FOOD CORRECTLY
Storage of food is very crucial when it comes to its longevity, freshness, quality and retainment. Which grains you need to put in what temperature, how long will it take tomatoes to ripen, how long it takes for bananas to go black are one of the few things that can be kept in mind to ensure that food is good, free of germs and clean.
SHOP SMART AND BUY WHAT YOU NEED
You should shop smart in terms of how much you need to buy and what is the rough idea of the quantity you buy for the coming days. Anticipate what can you eat. only buy what you need because sometimes there is a tendency that something is still there in the home and you think, what if its less, what if it is finished, what if it is expired. Make a list and fulfill the needs in an organized manner. Make a list before you go out shopping.
PLAN YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCE
Another amazing way is to quantify and plan your meals. This is a great way to not waste food. You don’t have to necessarily measure but take as a rough idea..like a half cup or 1 palm full or half a glass.. plan with a certain limit and what you need to eat a full day or let us say for a week. This will help you organize, waste less, and obviously consume whatever you plan to eat; mentally.
FIRST IN FIRST OUT
Another rule of the kitchen should be, whatever is brought first, or you think is gonna rot or spoil first, or for that matter who has a small fresh life, consume that first. FIRST IN FIRST OUT SHOULD BE THE RULE. Green leafy vegetables are supposed to spoil quickly so are bananas. Make sure that you consume things that need more attention and needs to go quickly.
EAT YOUR LEFTOVERS
Store your leftovers in the fridge and definitely try to compensate and accommodate them in your food menu the next day. Keep them in the forefront and plan your meal accordingly. Leftovers are not the food wasted. Although you can try to make only what is required or need nonetheless if you are left with more, eat it next day. Leftovers did no harm to your body. Frankly, you don’t even know how old is the food you pay and eat in the restaurant so relax and consume what you over cooked.
CONCLUSION – IT MIGHT NOT IMPACT YOU, BUT IT DOES TO SO MANY OTHERS.
So concluding the blog, hope this helps you in good light and knowledge. We obviously don’t intend to do anything wrong or waste more with our actions. Because we don’t know, we are unaware, we don’t pay heed to it and we lack knowledge. But if we know, if we try to build a conscious community who think about others, watch actions, and try to help others who need it way more than you. then why not. I am sure if someday you see some child not having to eat, how would you feel.
That strong feeling should always push you to use and utilize your food for better use, not waste it or go in the dustbin just because it’s extra. Just because it’s not a good day, just because you are NOT hungry, or just because it’s not tasty. Be valuable and grateful to what you have, don’t exploit your blessing. Think about others and try to conceive these habits in your lifestyles for a happier, prospering future. Many of us are not as lucky and blessed. Think for them ad next time do not let any food item go to waste from your households. All the very best.