According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is never eaten. This throwaway culture is hugely detrimental to the natural environment and contributes to the global issue of food inequality.
Food waste can amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.
Food waste is not confined to the domestic household, but is an overarching problem that impacts restaurants, hotels, and supermarkets too. The result is an overindulged society with a large carbon footprint.
Although tackling food waste on a global scale requires an overhaul in agriculture and production industries, we can all make a difference at home. Preventing food waste is one of the simplest ways to make an environmentally conscious change, and doesn’t require much energy or planning. Here are a few easy steps to prevent food waste:
When going out to buy groceries, make sure to not buy too many fresh ingredients. An easy way to avoid this is to ensure that you don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. Be thoughtful and careful about what you put in your basket, and try to avoid impulsive purchases.
It’s tempting to make large portions of food when having guests round, or over-ordering at a restaurant. There isn’t anything wrong with either, but make sure that leftovers aren’t thrown away. However big or small, always make sure to keep leftovers for another meal or light snack.
Globally, around 20-40% of fruits and vegetables are thrown away simply for being too ‘ugly’. Misshapen fruit and vegetables have the misfortune of being undesirable to the average consumer, despite tasting the same as conventionally shaped ones. Next time you’re in the supermarket, pick a less pretty fruit or vegetable to avoid it being binned.
‘When did sharing food become weirder than wasting it?’ is OLIO’s tag-line for their new ad campaign. The mobile app aims to reduce food waste by connecting those with surplus food to those in need of a free meal. The app is free to use and can be downloaded here.
It’s often tempting to throw away ingredients that are reaching their use-by date, especially when you have nothing else to cook them with (think surplus pesto without any pasta at home, or flaxseeds that you used in a smoothie that one time). Instead of throwing them away, try finding some recipes online by searching for the ingredients you already have at home. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can experiment and make up your own recipe!