Did you know that up to one-third of all food globally that’s intended for human consumption is wasted? Food waste is a much bigger problem than most of us realise but the good thing is, most of it happens at the consumer level, meaning that we all have the power to do something about it!
That’s why for Week 6 of our #8Shades8Weeks challenge, we’re challenging you to not let more food go to waste. Simply make or have a meal of leftovers and share it onto Instagram for your chance to win an organic veggie food box from the Hong Kong Agricultural Development Association (HKADA)! Sign up here!
In the meantime, we’ve prepared a handy guide for you with eight easy ways to reduce food waste:
Before going to the grocery store, plan your meals – you’ll be more likely to plan healthier meals if you see them laid out and you’ll also hopefully be less likely to go out for meals during the week if you know you have food waiting for you at home.
Also, we know it’s more convenient, but buying in bulk actually leads to more food waste. To avoid buying more than you need, make smaller, more frequent trips to the grocery store every few days rather than doing a bulk shopping trip once a week. Make a shopping list (and stick to it) to reduce impulse buying and use all the food you’ve purchased before buying more!
Store Food Correctly
Master the art of stocking your fridge by following these tips: don’t put tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in the fridge- keep them at room temperature. You should also separate foods that produce more ethylene gas from those that don’t (ethylene promotes ripening). Ethylene-producing foods include bananas, avocados, tomatoes and peaches. Ethylene-sensitive foods include potatoes, apples, leafy greens, berries and peppers. You can also keep the fridge temperature below 5°C and store cooked foods on shelves above raw foods.
Freeze Your Leftovers
One of the easiest ways to preserve food is by freezing it, and there are plenty of foods that take well to freezing. For example, greens that have become soft can be frozen to be used later in smoothies.
Put Food Scraps in the (Compost) Bin
Instead of throwing away your food scraps, throw them in a compost bin. Alternatively, you can ferment them. Fermented foods are good for your stomach and are sustainable as well!
Make Food Visible
Make sure that foods that go off first, like fruits and veggies, don’t get pushed to the back of the fridge. Keep them where you can see them, and keep them looking ready to eat.
Pick “Ugly” Food
Don’t judge food by its appearance! Misshapen or bruised fruits and veggies are often dumped because they don’t look “good,” despite tasting the same. You can use mature fruit for smoothies, juices, desserts and the ever-popular banana bread.
Understand Food Labels
Do you know the difference between “best before” and “use-by” dates? Sometimes food is still safe to eat after the “best before” date, whereas you shouldn’t eat foods after the “use-by” date. Check the labels to avoid throwing out foods before they’re spoiled!
Help Get Food Where it’s Needed
Donate to charities that collect and distribute food that would otherwise be left to rot. Alternatively, donate your time to be a food runner, delivering food to communities in need!
Wasting food is unnecessary, but thankfully super simple to cut back on. We hope that this guide helps you on your way to cut back on food waste to reduce your carbon footprint, save your food bills and help others get fed as well. Sounds like a win-win-win!
See also: Join The 8Shades 8-Week Challenge!