Food waste is a major problem humankind faces and it appears to worsen with every passing day. It is believed that the US alone wastes more than 100 million tons of food yearly. Having this in mind, you can imagine the head-spinning number of the amount of food tossed globally each year.
But how is it humanly possible to reach those numbers? The explanation is simple: we have all developed a routine of throwing away food without thinking twice about our actions. We are only humans, after all. Life has the habit to get in our way, thus, we cannot always take the time to stop by a food bank, so we choose convenience instead. Moreover, in many situations, we can also be misled. Labels such as ‘best by’ for example can be quite confusing and make us believe that after a certain date some products are no longer edible, when in fact some food (such as canned products) may be perfectly safe to eat even after that date.
But nothing is lost as long as we take initiative immediately and start treating the problem with the greatest significance. No one is asking to change things overnight. On the contrary, baby steps, like the ones described below, can bring huge positive changes.
Take advantage of leftovers
Do not throw away leftovers under any circumstances unless they look, smell or taste weird. Not only do they save you money, but time as well! They are a life-saving solution for busy people like myself. I know you can easily become sick of eating the same meal for several days, but you can try to compromise for the sake of our planet. Leftovers don’t have to be boring and bland-tasting when combined with other foods that can boost their flavor. If you choose not to eat them, give them to someone in need.
Learn how to shop efficiently
Do you know what they say about going grocery shopping? Never do it on an empty stomach as you’ll have the urge to buy more. So, you better be full and make a grocery list. But before putting everything down, it would also be helpful to ask yourself: “What are the most essential items I should get?” and “What’s the approximate quantity I need for each product?”.
Planning weekly will also help you shop efficiently. In that way, you’ll have a clear picture of how much food you consume during one week and it will be easier not to go overboard with the number of purchased products because you’ll know exactly how much is enough for you.
Use food wisely and to the max
Do you happen to have a beetroot that you don’t feel like eating? Make a homemade lipstick out of it. Your bread is on the verge of going stale? Make a bruschetta. Take this as an opportunity to develop your creativity and maybe become just a little bit frugal. You will be surprised what you can come up with.
My favorite food products that I like to use to the maximum have to be vegetable scraps. The majority of people throw them away because they don’t believe they can be used for something else. Well, what about vegetable broth? I use it in a variety of recipes as a base or as a flavor booster, thus, I always make sure to have it on stock and I believe this is the case with others as well.
Perfectly good and fresh vegetable scraps can produce the most flavorful, organic, (and most importantly, free) broth on demand. Pour water into a big pot, bring the scraps to a boil, reduce the heat once you see bubbles coming out of the pot, and simmer for half an hour. Feel free to season with whatever you like.
The only solution to prevent massive food waste is to stop normalizing it. inform ourselves about the actual duration of certain food items and most of all, learn how to make the most of them. These actions will not only help us contribute to the environment but will also teach us to be a little bit more grateful for the abundance of food that is available to us compared to certain parts of the world.