Almost 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted each year, ending up in landfills where it rots producing harmful methane gas, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
This means that our daily food waste directly contributes to climate change and now is the time to become responsible for reducing our food waste.
Here are 5 simple and practical tips to reduce our food waste at home.
1. Be a Smart Shopper
Are you guilty of buying too much food? Buying more food than you really need leads to a higher amount of food waste. Making frequent trips to the grocery store every few days instead of bulk buying can help avoid waste.
Getting creative in the kitchen by using all the food and ingredients you have before buying more is not only a good way to avoid waste but also helps you save some cash too. Another smart shopper tip is to make a list of items you need and stick to it! Cutting down your impulse buys can also cut down on what you throw away.
2. Store Food Correctly
Food spoils quickly if not properly stored. Knowing which food should be kept in the fridge and which items shouldn’t be stored together can have a huge difference in their shelf-life. A good example is to not put tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, garlic, and onions in the refrigerator, instead keep them at room temperature.
Some foods produce more of the ripening gas (ethylene) than others and they should be stored separately. Bananas, avocados, peaches, pears, and green onions are just some of the foods that produce ethylene gas while ripening. Therefore, they should be kept away from ethylene-sensitive items such as apples, berries, and peppers to avoid spoilage faster.
3. Preserve and Pickle
Learning how to preserve a variety of food can help reduce waste and save you money in the long run. Pickling using brine or vinegar, canning, or fermenting has long been used to preserve food. Freezing unused food or leftovers is also a great way to make your food last longer.
4. Save and Use Leftovers
Leftovers from large meals are often put in the fridge, forgotten about, and then thrown out. Storing them in glass containers means you can easily see what's inside and you're less likely to forget.
If you're placing leftovers into your freezer, label the container with the food and date of the storage for your usage guide.
5. Eat the Skin of Fruits and Vegetables
Did you know that most of the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are actually in the skin? Peeling and discarding it means throwing out all the good stuff!
The skin of apples, pears, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, and even chicken skin, all contain the best parts! The skin is rich in fiber, proteins, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Being responsible is not that difficult and Mother Nature is in dire need of our help. These simple and practical tips aren't just a way of helping our environment but also ourselves.