Reducing Waste by Reclaiming Food
Food Don't Throw it Away
You sit down to dinner and your plate is full. A smile crosses your face as you look at the food. When you have eaten your fill, there still is some food on the plate, what do you do with it?
Some of us may recycle that food by putting it into the compost; too many others will simply toss it away without any thought to what this says about us and our society.
Relax, I am not going to echo my mother and say something like, starving children in (insert country) would love that food.
What I will suggest is before you go grocery shopping give some thought to what you are going to do with the food you do not consume, and often toss away
As food prices rise, people may start to pay more attention to the food waste they generate each day; whether it is at home, at work or when enjoying one of the numerous dining out opportunities our fast food world offers.
In order to get a sound sense of how much food you eat and how much you toss away each week, try this.
Keep a daily log for one week that is seven days of all that you eat. Also jot down what you toss away.
I suggest seven days because our eating habits when we are home may differ from our eating behaviour when we go to work.
This may feel like a tedious chore but it can help you reduce waste, eat less and possibly lose weight and just maybe save some money. That sounds like a reasonable incentive to give it a try.
Now when you make up your grocery shopping list and do not go shopping for food without a list, take a look at your food use chart. How much did you throw out?
This gives you insight into what you eat and what you toss away. Now you can make your shopping list based upon this information.
First off, if you want to save money and reduce, bring your lunch. You control your food intake this way. When you eat out, you often have only a little time to grab something for lunch eat it and get back to work; this is complicated if you have other errands to run at lunch time. This may mean grabbing a fast food at a drive thru for example.
You may not eat all that you get due to time constraints too busy driving to eat all the fries or finish that triple cheese burger so into the garbage it goes.
If you have a microwave at work or even better a kitchen, leftovers from your meals at home can make great lunches. A bowl of home made chili can make a great lunch.
Leftovers when stored in a container that can be reheated are not only good for lunches at work but also can be very useful when you are at home but in a hurry, you have your own fast food right in your freezer.
This reduces waste, reuses the food and saves you the cost of that pizza or fried chicken you stopped off and bought on your way home.
It helps to label your leftovers before freezing them so that you know what you are getting.
If you attend conferences, meeting and social function you will know that quite frequently there is food left over when the event ends. Most of that food goes straight into the garbage.
Especially, if it is a formal affair held at a hotel or convention centre.
I use to organize a number of events and did the following to reduce waste.
When planning the event if there is to be a buffet or sit down meal you need to know how many guest are coming to diner. The caterer or hotel staff needs that information. This is where RSVPs are essential. Now you can figure that not everyone who says they will come will actually come but yoru can’t order food based on that, you must order what you need or you may not be feeding someone.
For example, you have 100 people confirm that they will attend. I would order a minimum of 105 dinners, because sometimes people show up without having RSVPed but they were invited. Now some may not show, so it is possible that you will have food left over. What to do.
Well what I always did before ordering food was:
1- The first step is to talk with whoever is looking after the food and tell them what you are planning.
2- Make contact with a local food program in the community to see if they wanted and could pick up the food.
3- If they wanted the food but could not pick it up, then I arranged delivery.
4- Often events are in the evening and there is no one to pick up the food or the organization is not open; then I divided the leftover food that is suitable for human consumption among the organizers of the event, again you need to talk with the hotel staff before doing this. They will balk at first but be insistent. You paid for the food.
5- Bring containers so that people can take food home.
6- If you are a regular event planner and have a relationship with a hotel, sit down with the manger and tell him or her that you are interested in recovery the edible food and ask for input.
7- Check local public health regulations.
If the event is less formal and being held in a community hall for example with a local caterer then be sure to bring containers so that people can take home all the food that is suitable to eat. Make an announcement at the time that food is being served that anyone who wants to take some food home can grab a container and help themselves; to encourage others to do so grab a container and take a bit yourself.
These are just a few suggestions to get you thinking about food it a different way. Let your creative energy find others.
There are a number of ways that you can trun collecting food waste into an economic activity; that is waste that it no longer fit for human consumption. Compost is one product that can be made from food waste and compost is always in demand by organic and other gardeners.
The accompanying videos show other ways that waste can equal opportunity.
We do not have to waste food, a little planning before hand can make a real difference.
Energy from Waste
Wasted Food Blog
- Wasted Food
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