Preventing food waste
Do not over feed your trash can!
Picture this: a child from Tanzania with flies in his eyes and his ribs sticking out. The only main thought for the day will consist of sharing a piece of food with his family. In the meanwhile, across the globe, thousands of miles away, a family in the United States is getting ready to have dinner at a famous all you can eat buffet. After their meal, the diner shuts down tossing tons and tons of remaining foods.
Daily food waste in the world reaches enormous quantities, quantities enough to help out in abundance third world countries that are starving. It is a shame that such things happen and continue to happen each day. Any average family everyday will toss away some food without giving it any thought.
When it comes to food waste consumers and producers find various ways to produce substantial amounts, below are some of the most common:
-Closer and closer sell by dates and use by dates. This is causing more stores and more consumers to toss out foods that really have much longer shelf lives. Many of us toss away cheese once we notice a spot of furry blue-greenish mould. Not many though that the mould may be simply just cut away.
-Common food table scraps such as potato peelings, meat scraps etc. make up a big portion of our common daily food waste. While not edible, this waste may be used to make your own compost.
-The produce industry and the meat industry produces enormous amounts of waste. The good thing is that some portions of this waste can be fed to animals such as swine or it can be biodegraded and used as compost to poroduce better quality soil. Regardless, there still remains a good portion that is unused and simply dumped or incinerated. This excess food waste when dumped in a landfill, negatively affects the environment by producing methane gas, global warming, odors while contributing to increase the fly and vermin population.
-Restaurants, bars and fast food left overs. Enormous amounts are produced from customer left overs and spoiled foods. In Europe, "doggy bags" are not as common as in the States so what is left over is very likely tossed.
As we can see, assessing the world's food waste can be pretty overwhelming. There are lots of food waste sources that must be addressed. As consumers , in our little we can help reduce some waste by preventing excess food waste production. Below are some tips that can be followed:
-Make a shopping list and strictly follow it. Avoid shopping as well, when you are hungry. You want to avoid over-buying and potentially producing unecessary waste.
-Freeze as much you can. Left over meat or lasagna? Cut it in pieces and make small portions that you can pop in the microwave and eat for a ready to go meal.
-Keep your fridge in order. We all have found spoiled food hiding behind a large bottle of milk and ended up tossing it. A neat fridge will help keep everything in plain view so to avoid a month old cabbage surprise.
-Use up leftovers. Brown bananas? Time to make banana bread. Left over pasta? Add some mozzarella and bake it. There are many ways left overs can be used. Make it your policy to stop feeding the trash and garbage disposal. Worse case scenarion, feed your dog or cat!
- Ask for doggy bag at restaurants. While still not much in use in Europe it will not hurt to ask. The waiter will not say no and who cares about what others think.
-Worse case scenario, invest in a composter. Use it to fertilize your garden.
As we can see there are many causes for food waste production but there are also many ways to minimize food waste production. If we all would abide to the "do not feed the trash can" policy and try our best to use left overs, we would have more money in our pockets and make a big favor to our environment.