My last blog detailed why food waste was an issue for the environment and people. I hope that it spurred some ideas on how you can stop food waste in your own life and maybe in other's lives. Lucky for all of us, there are actions we can take at an individual level to prevent food waste and, on a larger scale, like legislation. The goal is to give you simple changes to implement right away and then gradually move to the larger changes that will magnify the impact. Because food waste is not an individual issue, it's an issue with our society and our consumption habits. With nearly everything related to climate change, I think it's important to make sustainable choices in your own life, but we can't stop there. We have to encourage others and businesses to do better. Once we do this, we will see real progress. But for starters, what can you do at home or in your life to prevent wasting food?
To begin fighting food waste, it's easier to start with yourself. Every day take note of how much food you're throwing out and what kind of food it is. Do you tend to throw food every day, some days, or at the end of the week? Are you throwing out meals, packaged/processed food, or fruits/veggies? Depending on how often you dispose of food and what kind of food it is will help you determine the actions you need to take to limit your impact. For example, if you're throwing out meals that you cooked too much of, you should start cooking less. Or if you notice that you're constantly throwing out lettuce, it might be best to stop buying it for a bit or compost. If you're mainly throwing our fruits and veggie scraps, it would be best to compost. You can also save some fruit by freezing it or blending it to make popiscles. Depending on the veggie scraps you have, you could potentially save them and use them for broths (think onion skins, carrots, etc).
After you've learned some methods of fighting/limiting your food waste, you can think about taking it to the next level. In my opinion the next level would be anything that counts as a collective action. This could be educating your friends and family and helping them reduce their food waste. You can teach them how to compost, about expiration dates, and about donating. Sign pledges for businesses to donate extra food and support local farmers. Additionally, don't forget about legislative action, if you can sign a petition for our government (or your local government) to take action you should. You should also encourage your local government to institute composting. Send them an email, go to meeting, or call their office letting them know that you want a composting service available. It's important to do more, this helps raise awareness and encourages more people to take do something.
Businesses to Support
Believe it or not there businesses working to tackle the complex problem that is food waste. Remember that its important to shop local.
"Three years ago, when we launched as a four-person team based in Philadelphia, we were hyper-focused (and still are) on rescuing “misfit” produce (hence the name and all.) We take in high-quality organic produce that sometimes looks a little different. Fruits and veggies that are too big, too small, or just sort of funny-looking. Oftentimes, though, it’s produce that’s simply considered “surplus.”
Today, our scope has expanded to include other items you would find in a regular grocery store: cooking supplies, pantry staples, and much more. Similar to how we partner with farmers, we also work with food makers to reduce their waste. We take in their excess inventory—ranging from surplus to out-of-date packaging to short-dated items. (Short-dated means goods stamped with a “best-by” date that’s fewer than 6 weeks out.)"
"We're doing this by reimagining grocery delivery for a kinder, less wasteful world.
Imperfect was founded to fight food waste by finding a home for the imperfect or “ugly” fruits and vegetables that farms couldn’t sell to grocery stores. This concept took root and grew like a zucchini after a rainstorm. The more we learned, the more we realized that it wasn’t the food that was really imperfect after all; it was the food system. So, as the number of products we offer and cities we serve increases, we keep finding new ways to make a positive impact on our world."
"We dream of a planet with no food waste, and every day we’re working on making that a reality. Our app is the most direct way for you to get involved - just download, log on, and get saving perfectly good, surplus food from your local stores. It’s always a surprise and an instant good deed for the planet. Get started now."
Local Donation Centers (Norwescap and Soup Kitchens)
Donate food you may longer want before it goes bad. You can Google places near you to find out what is accepted and how to donate.