Many of us were taught from an early age not to waste any food. Our parents exhorted us to join the “Clean Plate Club,” and not to throw out perfectly good cuisine. Sadly, this is a lesson that many people don’t carry with them into adulthood: Food waste is a big problem, with some estimates showing that about 40 percent of all food products are thrown in the garbage.
At WasteXperts, we provide trash and recycling management services to help our clients reduce their own food waste. With that said, it may be worth backing up to consider an even more basic question: Why exactly is food waste so problematic?
Keep in mind that, when we talk about food waste, we’re talking about food that goes uneaten. This can be food that’s simply thrown in the trash, yet there are other causes of food waste, as well.
For example,a lot of food waste occurs before food even reaches the retail or consumption phases. Food can be ruined, and deemed inedible, due to weather problems, processing errors, or storage issues. Sometimes, food manufacturers overproduce.
Additionally, a lot of food waste happens at restaurants, both because untouched food is discarded from buffets, or because the restaurant serves overly generous proportions.
There are a number of reasons why food waste is bad, both on a personal level and at an environmental level.
● First and foremost, wasting food costs you money. Some estimates show that the average American throws away a pound of food every single day; just think about the wastefulness that’s built into your grocery bill!
● Food waste also puts a lot of stress on the environment. That’s because, in order to remove food waste from the public eye, it requires a good many resources, including transportation, land, laborers, and fertilizers.
● Ultimately, food waste eats up a lot of precious landfill space, and over time has become a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and to climate change.
While food waste poses a real threat to the planet (to say nothing of your weekly budget),it’s not an unsolvable problem. In fact, there are several simple steps you can take to minimize food waste.
● Do some advanced meal planning. By taking stock of what you already have in your pantry, you can plan meals that don’t require you to buy as many new ingredients (or to risk doubling up on ingredients you already have at home).
● Use shopping lists. When you head to the store, be sure you check the pantry and fridge in advance, and make a list of the items you actually need to purchase.
● Shop for smaller sizes. Your grocery store may sell huge bags of honeycrisp apples, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy them; if you don’t think you can eat those apples before they turn, just buy smaller quantities.
● Take leftovers home. Did the restaurant you visited give you a portion big enough for two meals? If so, be sure you ask for a box, take the extra food home, and enjoy it for lunch the next day.
● Keep food fresh. Whether by repackaging, freezing, or preserving, there are numerous ways you can prevent your food from prematurely rotting. Relatedly, don’t toss food before it goes bad.
● Compost. Some food waste is unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you have to send it to the landfill. Get into home composting!
One more thing: Make sure you have a strategic waste/recycling management service foryour business or multi-family community. That’s something WasteXperts can help you with. Contact us directly to learn more about how we can help you eliminate food waste!