10 Easy Tips to Reduce Your Food Waste

19 Nov 2020

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vegetables in a re-usable bag

Food insecurity is on the rise. When the pandemic hit the shores of the richest of countries, videos of ugly fighting, hoarding, and stocking came out like never before. The pandemic exposed how vulnerable even the richest of nations are to a very basic need like food. How sad is it then that daily tons of food is simply thrown in garbage bins!

Whether you're a consumer or a restaurant/hotel owner, if you've ever felt the slightest guilt while wasting food, break the cycle now and read on the 10 tips that can help you make a positive change instantly.

multiple veggies

Food waste versus food loss

eat your rainbow

Enough about the problems, let’s talk about solutions

If talking about problems could solve them, there wouldn't be any problems in the world. Clearly, we need solutions that work. So, these 10 tips should be adopted by households, restaurants, and supermarkets to reduce their food waste.

Don’t go by looks: Don’t be swayed by the perfect looking food you see in commercials. In fact, if you want to save yourself from picking up genetically modified foods, reach for the imperfect looking ones. Real fruits and vegetables come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Make a grocery list and stick to it: Impulsive buying leads to unnecessary spending. Take a stock of what you need beforehand, pen it down, and then stick by it. Not only will you avoid excessive buying, but you'll also avoid unnecessary expenditures. Needless to say, most of the impulsive buying cater either to mindless snacking during daytime or to the midnight cravings for sugary-fatty foods that leave us with a guilty feeling the next morning. Therefore, overeating might be another hidden side effect of bulk buying. In an attempt to avoid something going waste, you might want to justify eating it.

making a grocery list

Avoid buying jumbo packs just to save a few cents: We might feel like a financial guru by saving a few cents on a jumbo pack. But unless you're hosting a huge party, you might end up wasting money on the food you will have to throw out when it goes bad. So, try and reach out for loose produce unless you need more. Moreover, sometimes the promotion of bulk packs might just be a marketing gimmick. Always look for the price per unit quantity and don't assume bigger is always better! If you do the math, you realize it leaves you no richer.

Be creative with your cooking: If you've a few odd vegetables that don't necessarily fit any recipe. Make your own recipe. Or use the vegetable to make soup or stock. Get creative!

two women cooking

Have an airtight plan (better yet, have an air-tight container): Some foods stay fresh longer if kept in airtight jars, while others do better where air circulation can take place. Know your food, research how best to extend its life.

Clean your fridge often: I don’t mean scrubbing it. I mean take out what’s in the fridge and rearrange every now and then. We've all been there when a funny smell leads us to a rotting bag of food, hiding in a corner of the refrigerator.

fridge

Use help: If you're a restaurant/hotel/office, go for certification designed to reduce food waste. This will not only help you save on cost but also improve your image of being environmentally/socially conscious and help your business embrace sustainability. There are many third-party audit certification agencies that can help you with this. Make sure to choose the right ones.

compsting

Alternatives: Explore options for leftovers such as composting, animal/poultry/fish feed, biofuel/biogas production. Check with your government food agency if there's a provision for acceptable food waste for composting or for animal feed. Strict guidelines will have to be adhered to. Also, check if there can be any collaboration between your supplier who may use the waste to produce compost or animal feed.

Think outside of the “packaging” box: Food waste is of course “food”, but don't ignore the other waste generated with it. Food packaging and bottles generate millions of tons of plastic. Not only are they bad for the environment, but they are extremely bad for human health as well. Restaurants must provide discounts to customers who ‘Bring your own’ (BYO) reusables. Customers should consider carrying their own cups or tiffin, that’s even safer during this pandemic. Restaurants must also consider moving to sustainable bio-packaging products that are safe for both environment and health.

ingredients for a salad

More than just “wasted food”

Just to be clear, food waste isn't just wasted food. That’s just the unfortunate end to a whole lot of action. To put things in perspective, all the forests burnt for growing crops, all the water extracted for irrigation, all the pesticides added to the crops, all the land cleared for grazing farm animals, all the greenhouse gases produced, all the carbon footprint added from the beginning to the end, all of this for nothing, all of this just for the food to end in the garbage bin. Here's something to munch on, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) one-third of all food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted. This is four times the amount of food required to feed the 795 million starving people around the world. Now that’s a waste!

Meet the authors:

Snigdha Sharma is the Environment & Sustainability Advisor at Bizsu. A doctorate in Environment studies, she loves being around nature and continues to be fascinated by it.

Brice Degeyter is the founder of Bizsu where he helps companies grow while taking care of the environment. He loves gardening, eating spirulina and singing at karaoke.

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Responses

Post
@david- profile image
david-1 YEAR AGO
Such a big issue here! I worked at a grocery store and we were throwing away so much food instead of just donating it...
REPLY
@dhughes profile image
dhughes1 YEAR AGO
REPLY
@dhughes profile image
dhughes1 YEAR AGO
Industry is the culprit sanctioned by government, government being the epicenter of animal cruelty and exploitation of natural resources to exhaustive levels. Adios humans race, your extinct!
REPLY
@dhughes profile image
dhughes1 YEAR AGO
It seems irresponsible to not donate the food, but I’ve been told there is a risk of contamination or worse.??
REPLY
N
nigi1 YEAR AGO
😔
REPLY