How to reduce food waste and save money
Mizuki Kinoshita (she/her) // Contributor
Food waste is a huge problem facing the world, and it has economic and environmental effects for individual consumers and the global population. According to the United Nations, “About a third of all the food produced for human consumption each year – or roughly 1.3 billion tons – is lost or wasted”. Food waste releases a lot of greenhouse gas, so it affects and is progressing global warming. A separate piece from the United Nations states, “food loss and waste is responsible for about 7% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions”.
Making food uses a lot of resources, money and labour. A waste of food is a waste of these resources. In addition, there are a lot of people around the world who deal with food insecurity. For these reasons, now is a good time to face and reduce food waste in order to positively impact the world and environment. It can seem insurmountable, but there are a few ways individuals can make a difference.
First, buying food in quantities that can be used reliably is really important. Making a list of your needs and bringing it to the market with you is one of the best ways to reduce waste. Also, after grocery shopping, freezing ingredients helps them keep longer than they would in the fridge, and less will be spoiled.
Second, a common experience at the grocery store is finding new and exciting ingredients and thinking, ‘Wow! This vegetable is unique. I want to taste it, so I should buy it!’ In many of these cases, that food goes to waste because of a lack of a plan for how to cook it, so avoiding impulse buying is another way to cut down on waste. If you find food that is unusual and still want to buy it, search for a recipe beforehand.
Third, use as much of your ingredients as possible, even the part of the food that you would usually throw away. One example is the broccoli’s core. You can stir-fry the core and other vegetables or meat. You can reduce food waste and find some new recipes. This is really enjoyable, and valuable for the environment.
Fourth, if you cannot finish your meal at a restaurant, don’t waste it; get a box to bring it home, so guests and restaurants do not need to waste food. In addition, order food that you think you can finish. This way is not only beneficial for the environment but also good for restaurants and customers because if they waste their dishes, they also waste money.
In some cases, you may find that you have more food than you can eat before its expiration date. At that time, don’t throw it away. If these items are sealed food and still edible, bring them to donation boxes, which can be found in some grocery stores. For example, Superstore near Capilano University and Capilano Student Union’s Community Cupboard are available to donate. It is a good way to give back to people who need food. If food is spoiled and cannot be eaten, put it into the organics, where it will be composted. Proper waste disposal decreases the environmental impact.
Actions shape the world. If we do not think about the effects of food waste, we lose food, money, and negatively impact the environment.