How to reduce food waste

It’s not hard to make a positive difference. Here are some of our go-to ways to help reduce global food waste.

Living a plant-based lifestyle is about more than just what you put on a plate, but also all the leftover food that doesn’t get eaten. According to the Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian consumers throw away around 3.1 million tonnes of edible food a year, with another 2.2 million tonnes being disposed of by the commercial and industrial sector.

That costs about $20 billion each year, and is part of a much more significant issue of food waste around the world. The 2016 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics reported that there is enough food produced in the world to feed everyone, but 793 million remain undernourished. If we conserved just one-quarter of wasted food, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that we could feed 840 million people. So why are people still going hungry?

Luckily, it’s not hard to make a positive difference. Here are some of our go-to ways to help reduce global food waste.

Plan your meals

Before you head to the store, put together a list with an idea of what you want to cook for the entire week. This will make sure you’re only buying what you need and not purchasing perishables when you already have some at home. You can also try buying in bulk so you only get exactly what’s required, instead of ending up with extra spices or produce that will just get forgotten. Bonus: it’s better for your wallet, too.

Buy the “ugly” produce

Beauty is on the inside, and that definitely applies to your fruits and veggies. A lot of stores, and some farmer’s market stands, will offer discounts on produce that doesn’t look picture-perfect — however, appearance doesn’t impact taste. Buying it will ensure that high-quality food doesn’t end up getting tossed.

Know expiration dates!

Keep an eye on when food is going to go bad, whether it’s for something in the cupboard or the freezer. You bought it for a reason: make sure it gets eaten before it’s past its prime. And, hey — this will also help you reduce your grocery bill.

Eat leftovers

Buying lunch each afternoon or ordering takeaway for dinner multiple times a week? That’s probably taking a toll on your bank account and is the perfect opportunity to eat what you already have at home. If you can’t get to your leftovers in time, label them with the date and pop them in the freezer for the next time you want to grab a quick, easy meal.

Donate, donate, donate

We’ve all got that can of beans we never actually plan on eating, but that doesn’t mean it can’t feed someone else. Donate it to a food bank or a food kitchen, along with any other unexpired items that aren’t going to make it into your meals. And what you donate doesn’t have to be non-perishables, either. You can often donate food scraps to farmers to help feed pigs, or contribute them to a compost heap.

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Published: 30/11/17

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