In 2019, 690 million people worldwide went hungry. A staggering number. More staggering is the fact that we waste over 1 billion tonnes of food per year. It doesn’t stop there. Food waste is also estimated to cause 8-10% of global greenhouse emissions. We have a huge food waste problem. Therefore, in this article we are going to look at 5 of the best tips and 1 bonus tip on how to limit your food waste.
Why is Food Waste a Problem?
Before we look at what to do with food waste let’s take a closer look at the problem. It’s quite simple: 33-50% of all globally produced food is never eaten.
In a world of infinite resources this would not seem like a problem. Similarly, in a world where food poverty doesn’t exist it would not be a problem. However, the truth is that we do live in a world where resources are finite and food poverty does exist. We live in the climate crisis. Therefore, food waste is a big problem.
Recent research has shown that if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of carbon globally.
Food waste is a large problem because it happens throughout the supply chain. In the UK, £1 billion of food is wasted before it reaches supermarkets. It’s also well known that supermarkets throw away perfectly good unsold food. All of this is before it even reaches our homes. We forget about food and leave it to rot at the back of the fridge or cupboard. We then waste more in food preparation before throwing more away when we are too full to finish our plates.
So, what can we do as individuals? What steps can we take?
How to Limit Your Food Waste
We’ve put together the following steps to help you limit your food waste. It can seem a lot but don’t be overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time. Small changes can accumulate and before you know it you will have reduced your food waste and that of those around you.
1. Only Buy What You Need
The first step to limiting food waste is pre-emptive. You want to limit the potential for food waste creation. No, this doesn’t mean not buying food. But, it could mean buying less. Put another way, it means only buy what you need.
The food waste crisis is linked heavily to our overconsumption patterns. However, all this does is lead to more waste. How many times have you thrown away a mouldy bag of potatoes or carrots after using just one or two?
Instead, try purchasing just what you need. If a recipe asks for two carrots buy two carrots and not a whole bag. This will also cut down on packaging waste! Bonus!
2. Only Cook What You Will Eat
The next step is to only cook what you will eat.
We’ve all been there. You’ve cooked too much food and you can’t eat it all. What happens next? You empty any non-salvageable food into the bin and forget about it. If this is a regular occurrence, make a conscious effort to cook a smaller portion. Remember, if you are still hungry after clearing your plate you can always make some more.
3. Use a Food Waste Bin
Our third step is to use a food waste bin. Not everyone will have the option to but many do. Food waste bins are usually small green tubs that are supplied by the local council. The council will then collect all the green food waste bins each week. This is much better than discarding food waste in the main bin.
If you don’t have a food waste bin contact your local council as they may have a scheme or collection service in operation that you don’t know about.
4. Learn to Compost
For many, this will seem the most daunting tip. However, it is also the most rewarding. Composting naturally breaks down food scraps into healthy soil. This can then be used in your garden or flower pots. Food waste can be composted easily and returns vital nutrients back into the natural cycle.
5. Embrace New Recipes
Remember that old bag of carrots? Instead of leaving it to rot try cooking something new. There are hundreds of wonderful carrot soups that are super simple to make.
This goes for any unused food. It’s a great way to use up food that would otherwise be thrown out. A large vegetable soup can be frozen and can provide lunches for the week ahead. Another bonus!
Bonus Tip: Become a No Food Waste Advocate
The problem of food waste begins in the supply chains and supermarkets. If we can eliminate food waste at these points it will make a huge difference to the issue of food waste. But how?
First, hold them to account. UK supermarkets recently pledged to half food waste by 2030. There should be regular updates on how this pledge is going. Without consumer pressure supermarkets and supply chains will carry on as they are.
Second, help educate others. Individuals can make great strides in achieving positive change but more can be achieved together. Read more about the issue and share what you learn with your friends and family.
Third, save and use food that would otherwise be wasted by joining an app like Too Good To Go. The app lets you access surplus foods from local stores for cheap prices as it would otherwise, go to waste!
Start today! Share this post now.
The Bottom Line
Food waste is a global problem. It will take a joint effort for us to solve but it’s not impossible. We can each make small changes and achieve great results. However, we need to start today.
Do you have your own tips to cut down on food waste? Let us know in the comments below!
If you are looking into the foods you eat and the impacts they have on the environment then you need to check out our posts on food and greenhouse gas emissions! Both are accesible below:
- The 10 Worst Foods to Eat for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- The 10 Best Foods to Eat for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
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