Food waste is single-handedly the most unreasonable sustainability issue that continues to plague our society. Not a single person likes wasting food; it’s just something that happens. From a young age, we’re all taught to “eat every last bit of rice on your plate, or else your future wife will have pimples”. But somewhere along the way we decided to take skincare into our own hands. Approximately 30% of all food produced in Canada goes unconsumed, which amounts to a total of $100 billion annually within the Canadian economy. Although we can’t stop big corporations such as [redacted] from destroying our environment at least we can go to bed easy at night if we follow these six easy steps!
Donate: Donate non-perishables to your local food bank; items sitting in your pantry can be used to feed someone in need. Often times we allow non-perishable items like canned beans and dry noodles to pile up in our homes. If waste is defined as anything that does not have use, then keeping non-utilized food items is wasteful.
Shop conscientiously: Although buying in bulk is more convenient, it often leads to buying more food than needed, which ultimately goes bad and thrown away. To avoid buying too much food, make a grocery list of the type and quantity of food that you need for a discrete period of time, such as your meal plans for a week.
Keep track of the expiration dates: Use the food that will expire first. To keep track of expiration dates, write them down on the food package in a big, bold font using a Sharpie. Store these items so the food with the earlier expiration date is more accessible to you. It is best to do this every time you buy new food. Note that best before dates function as an approximation and not a rule governing when food goes bad.
Take note of refrigerator/freezer contents: Oftentimes, many food items are pushed to the back or bottom and we forget that we even have the food. Make sure to go through what is in your fridge/freezer when planning for your meals or when it gets crowded and include the older food into your meal plan for that week. Organize the food so that the older food is more accessible and noticeable to you when you open your storage unit.
Watch your portion size for every meal: Be mindful of how much food you put on your plate so you are able to finish everything on it. Not only does this prevent wasting food due to piling too much on your plate, it also prevents you from overeating.
Compost: Some food waste, such as onion skin, egg shells, banana peels, and coffee grounds are unavoidable. In order to prevent these items from ending up in the landfill, you can implement a home composting system. This is a sustainable way to convert your waste into something useful!
We hope you found some interesting and helpful tips! Let’s get this bread but only the amount you can eat :-)
Written by Kanesha Calo and Kechao Gao
Food Waste: The Issue of Food Waste. (2019). Retrieved from http://tfpc.to/food-waste-landing/food-waste-theissue
A Food Loss and Waste Strategy for Canada: National Zero Waste Council (2019). Retrieved from http://www.nzwc.ca/focus/food/national-food-waste-strategy/Documents/NZWC-FoodLossWasteStrategy.pdf