It turns out that we can do a LOT to prevent food waste as consumers and as people who eat and enjoy food. In fact…no sacrifice or lack of enjoyment is required in order to make a difference.
Mindfulness and awareness are the places to begin.
On an Individual Level…
Think while buying.
What will you or your family realistically eat, and when? Plan meals and use a shopping list. Wasting food is often subconscious. We just don’t plan properly and wind up with unusable decaying or forgotten food. When throwing it out, we don’t realize that our little actions are part of a bigger, global picture.
Become a more mindful eater.
Pay attention to your food and the enjoyment of eating. Consider fewer distractions, like TV or eating while working. When we are not paying attention we may not tune into to our body’s signals, which often leads to overeating.
and consider smaller portions. When you save food, you save money and save the environment as well.
Browse your fridge
for cooking ideas before running out for more. Be creative!
to the misconception that buying in bulk saves money. It only saves money if you can use all the food before it spoils or you forget about it!
with parts of food that you might usually ignore. If safe and healthy, stale bread makes great croutons, for example, and older veggies can be a turned into a stock for soup.
or can surplus fruits and vegetables, especially in the height of their growing season.
When eating out, consider asking about portion sizes and side dishes. Take home left-overs for your next meal.
Consider composting your unused foods. We will dedicate another issue to this!
On a Larger Scale…
There are some good ideas circulating!
Some schools have set up sharing tables for unused packaged items. Kids who are allowed to self-serve and self-portion waste less food.
Having enough time to eat prevents waste also.
At the college level, some cafeterias across the U.S. have begun going tray-less. Carrying two plates at most, rather than trays piled high forces students to think about what they really want to eat. This seemingly simple move has helped reduce food consumption and waste by 25 to 30 percent in some colleges.
President Barack Obama recently stated that we need to create “a system that distributes excess produce to communities where too many kids go to bed hungry.”
On a community level, consider donating to food banks or supporting local businesses that have found creative ways to deliver food to people who need it.
As for moving forward, we believe technology will be part of the answer, in anaerobic digestion.