A few simple steps could help reduce the environmental impacts of wasted food.
Today, an estimated one-third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste. That’s equal to about 1.3 billion tons - enough calories to feed every undernourished person on the planet.
But wasted food isn't just a social or humanitarian concern—it's an environmental one. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. About 11% of all the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system could be reduced if we stop wasting food.
As the world’s population continues to grow, our challenge should not be how to grow more food, but to feed more people while wasting less of what we already produce.
Here are a 5 tips to help you get started:
- Talk it up. Preventing food waste is the most effective way to shrink its impact on the planet. However awareness is a good first step; according to ReFED, educating consumers about food waste could prevent 2.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Plan ahead and buy only what you need. Going to the store without a plan or on an empty stomach can lead to buying more than we need. Plan your meals and make a list before you start shopping.
- Use your freezer. There are so many benefits to frozen foods - freezing naturally preserves ingredients to retain their nutrients and flavour giving you more flexibility to choose what you eat when and reducing food waste.
Be creative with leftovers. Before you shop, use the food you already have. Lots of recipe websites like Jamie Oliver allow you to search based on ingredients already in your kitchen. You can also use apps like Epicurious and Allrecipes to make the most of what's in your fridge and kitchen cupboards.
- Blend, bake, or boil. Fruits and vegetables that are beyond ripe may not look pretty, but that doesn't mean they can't still taste delicious in recipes. I'm also loving Riverford's weekly Veg Hacks and Too Good To Go also have some great suggestions.