Food Waste is a big problem in our society. Every grocery trip, we buy things we know we will probably never eat. Or we buy extra when there is already enough in the fridge. If we want to be zero waste and tackle climate change, THIS. NEEDS. TO. CHANGE.
Generally, there are two categories of food waste. There is the unavoidable food waste which includes eggshells, tea bags, fruit cores and peels etc. And then there is the avoidable food waste such as untouched food that could have been eaten at some point or some fruits and vegetables that have gone bad. In Canada, approximately 50% of food waste by single family households are completely AVOIDABLE. Seriously, it costs us $1,100 per year, per family.
Why is food waste such a problem?
Well, economically speaking, we waste 2.2 MILLION TONNES of edible food waste each year. That is $17 billion excess money wasted!
To put this amount in perspective, EVERY DAY in Canada we waste:
1) 470,000 heads of Lettuce
2) 1,200,000 tomatoes
3) 2,400,000 potatoes
4) 750,000 loaves of bread
5) 1,225,000 apples
6) 555,000 bananas
7) 1,000,000 cups of milk
8) 450,000 eggs
Environmentally, first of all, that is a lot of waste to landfill. Secondly, just imagine all the waste of resources that was used to grow, produce, package and distribute that food to consumers. Imagine the greenhouse gas production linked with the extra food you wasted. People also tend to think that throwing away the food waste in the Green compost bin solves all the problems because at least it is being diverted away from being thrown into landfill. But this can also add to the problem because it creates this additional need for resources to manage all the excess avoidable food waste.
Picture this instead - every tonne of household food waste that is avoided is equivalent to taking one whole car off the road EACH YEAR.
But how do we reduce our food waste?
Here are some things you can do to tackle food waste and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
1) Plan! Plan! Plan!
- Start to prepare your meals for two or three days in advance so that you can get a better idea of what ingredients you need.
- You don’t have to make anything complicated. Start simple. You will stick to it if you can actually do it.
- Use this weekly menu plan by Love Food Hate Waste campaign to make your planning easier!
- The meal plan will help you generate a clear shopping list that lets you know exactly what you need. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign even has a Portion Planner to know how much of each ingredient is needed for you to cook for a specific number of people. It is a great tool if you want to get started on preparing and planning your meals.
- Buy only what you need.
- Don’t submit to marketing tactics used by supermarkets to make you impulse buy.
- Stick to your guns or in this case, your shopping list!
- Check your pantry and fridge prior to grocery shopping
- If you don’t have time to make a list, take a picture of your fridge or your pantry and just pull it out when you are shopping.
- Don’t buy something you know you won’t eat.
- Always make sure to check the best before labels.
- You don’t have to throw it out yet!
- If kale gets stale, bake it!
- If your soup is too salty, add some brown sugar!
- If your vegetables are too overcooked, just puree them!
- Store your food in your refrigerator so that it stays fresh longer.
- Produce going bad? Chop it up and store it in the Freezer and cook it up later.
- Or can it and use it all year around. Use this guide for help.
- Organize your pantry and fridge.
- Buy boxes/containers for the food you want to store. These include rice, beans, spaghetti, pasta etc.
- This gives you a better idea about how much of each item you use and how much is remaining so that you can generate a clear shopping list for your next grocery trip.
So there you have it, 3 simple steps you can take to reduce your food waste and start your zero waste journey. Interested in more sustainable products that can significantly reduce your household waste? Take our quiz now to see which products are the best for you!
Article written by Sarick Chapagain