Did you know that we, as Americans, chuck up to HALF of our total food purchased? That means half of the work the farmers do, half the oil used to transport the goods, half the time you spend in the grocery store is simply… wasted. Doesn’t that seem crazy? How can we stop wasting food?
There are many stages of food waste- from production, shipping losses, damaging through handling, and then waste at the store. Grocery stores toss out an enormous amount of good foods, as do restaurants and individuals. and this must stop. Though the US doesn’t seem to always recognize this as a problem, the UK is actively trying to reduce food waste by 50%. According to an article published on Care2, the new campaign combines websites and outreach to inform residents how they can reduce food waste. If you are serious about diverting food from the waste stream, you can make more careful buying decisions, store food properly, and bring to-go containers to restaurants to take home any foods leftover. Or, like this clever gentleman, (and many others too) you could dumpster dive to get those foods chucked by grocery stores- eliminating your need to shop for new foods and diverting waste!
How can we stop wasting food? Think about this:
- How much food do YOU waste?
- Are there certain foods you always waste, but continue to purchase? (My food/trash of choice is potatoes; I love buying them (and eating them, too!) but NEVER get around to cooking them; I have planted more than a few sprouting spuds, though!). And sub-par baked goods; those always go to the birdies.
- What simple steps could you take to decrease that amount? What do you already do: freeze your scraps, compost them, feed your worm bin
- Perhaps you have heard of ‘nose-to-tail’ eating which involves, y’know, eating the whole animal- it’s very popular now with the omnivorous hipsters. But for the veggies among us, Grist has a more recent article about ‘stem-to-root’ eating-‘ using things like cherry pits, apple skins, and broccoli stalks. Yums.
- Here some suggestions for using the ‘unusable’ parts of the veggies: making broth, eating the stems and eating carrot peels, of course! And the New York Times has a great article about how to use cherry pits, watermelon rind, corn cobs and more!
- And if you have a smartphone (everybody does but me, right?), then you can use this ap to help you judge the quality of your food.
food photo via Shutterstock