Saturday, January 12, 2013

4.4 Billion Tons Wasted: It's Time To Stop the Madness

 According to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers 4.4 billion tons of food goes to waste each year. I like to follow food and the phase started with the birth of my first son. As children do, they create a new and more responsible chapter in our lives and it had be looking into food. I have worked in food kitchens, been to pantries, and done work for food publications that took me inside the food world. My husband and I have volunteered our time for various food organizations and resoundingly the problem is food waste. The is a global epidemic and exists at all levels of the food chain. From lack of proper food storage in third world countries to incredible domestic waste in the US and Britain, we only eat about half of what is produced. This is such a disheartening fact but it is time the world is aware of the food realities. We should also be aware of the fact that we can begin to curb the waste as individuals and stop the food waste madness.

Here are some tips to stop the waste:

1. Shop locally. Especially for produce. Check labels, go to food markets and ask your grocer where the food is coming from. There are farms all over the world that supply you with food so look around and you may just find that one is closer than you think. The less distance the food has traveled to get to you, the better it is for the Earth..

2. Buy only what you need. Plan out a menu for the week and then shop accordingly. You can always make a quick trip to the store midweek, if necessary. Just remember that fresh fruits & veggies go bad quickly (especially in Summer) so only purchase what you will use.

3. Use the mush. Soft fruits can be used to make smoothies and breads while going vegetables can be made into soup. Get creative to cut down on waste.

4. Serve small amounts. Small amounts assure that everyone gets some and anyone can go back for more if they are still hungry. Great tip for families with children: Give kids just a bit and then they can ask for a bit more if they are not quite full.

5. Embrace leftovers. Keep every little bit and turn it into something else. Single serving of pasta? Lunch for the workday. Half a head of lettuce? Add more veggies to create a yummy salad for family dinner. Freeze any larger portion leftovers for later as well.

6. Fresh fridge. By moving around the contents of your fridge and taking stock of what you have, you tend to throw less away. Check the dates for expiry times. Try moving older items front and center so that you know what needs to be used and when. Place baking soda boxes in both the fridge and freezer for proper circulation and odor control.

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