How To Reduce Your Food Waste
Did you know that we waste 1.3 billion tons of food every year? I was surprised to learn that developed and developing countries contribute equally to the problem. The reasons, however, are radically different. In developing countries, the largest losses occur during harvesting and processing, while in industrialized countries they occur in shops and consumers. In Europe, for example, households are responsible for 53% of all food waste generated.
We are all in this together and to help anyone who would like to reduce their food waste I have prepared 7 easy steps to significantly reduce food waste.
1. Careful planning
I admit, creating a menu for the week is a big challenge. Even if I do, then I am often not in the mood for the chosen food and everything is done by force. This is a serious obstacle to having a sustainable habit. I’ve tried a few ways until I found one that worked relatively well. I made a list of all the things I like to eat and divided them into groups - snacks, soups, appetizers, mains and desserts. When I need inspiration, I look at the list and make a rough plan.
2. Selection of seasonal and local products
I will hardly surprise you by telling you that if you choose food products grown locally, you will significantly reduce your carbon footprint (and help local producers and businesses). In addition, the closer they are grown to you, the fresher and full of nutrients (and probably delicious) the products will be. If you visit farmers' markets, meet the producers, you will be able to ask them all the questions that have crossed your mind - how their products were grown, what they were fertilized with, etc., which will allow you to make an informed decision. Although it is still a practice in the markets to actively offer plastic bags, so far no one has refused to fill my bag.
Do not neglect ugly fruits and vegetables. Although they taste the same as their beautiful brethren, they often end up in the dump just because they have injuries and are not "beautiful" enough. As consumers, we can change this trend by giving a chance to the imperfect but delicious produce.
3. Loose shopping
In addition to drastically reducing your plastic waste, you will buy just as much food as you need and save money. If you need recommendations, you can look at our guide for loose shopping (oops jumped the gun here that’s coming next week. You’ll have to come back here for that guide).
4. Creative cooking
Think outside the box and you can utilize any ingredient - vegetable peels and meat bones can be turned into great broths. With the leftovers from the bread, you can make breadcrumbs. With leftovers from parsley and dill, you can make homemade flavoured olive oil/pesto of sort. In the blog of Zero Waste Chef, you can find hundreds of recipes for cooking without waste.
5. Freezing leftovers leftovers
Any leftovers and excessive food can be safely stored in the freezer. This also applies to bread. Once you take them out, just put them in the oven and they will be like new. Remember to just carefully mark the contents and keep the dates of the freeze.
If you live in an apartment and you are wondering if it's still possible to compost - it's possible. First, you'll need a container in which you transform kitchen waste or other organic waste such as cut plants into rich peat. The easiest way is to use a plastic bin with a capacity of more than 75 litres. This is enough to recycle the waste from a small household. A plastic composter will last around five years. You can also use another material, as long as it's not corrosive metal because rust introduces toxins into the rotting matter.
Holes in the floor and at the bottom of the container are important so that oxygen can circulate inside. This also avoids the spread of unpleasant odours. If it doesn't have any holes, you'll have to drill some. The distance between the holes should be about five centimetres. Depending on the size of the bin, you can make several rows of holes around the edge, one above the other. There is no rule of thumb, however.
7. Grow your own fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices
One courgette plant produces plenty and they are easy to grow in a pot or raised beds. French and runner beans grow very well on wigwams. Cucumbers and cherry tomatoes will thrive in a sunny spot or try potatoes or beetroot in a bed. Cane fruits like blackberries and raspberries require very little space but need a little support.
I hope this information was helpful and will be useful. If you are looking for more ways how to be sustainable browse our blog. You can also check our store and get yourself awesome bamboo cutlery set to have it on the go or grab a roll of our beeswax food wrap.
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