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25 Tips On Minimizing Food Waste

11/02/2013

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It was Family Day yesterday. Meaning, dinner at mum`s. Meaning, stuffing. Don`t get me wrong. I love my mum. But there is no way I can accommodate all this quantity of food. Soup, bread, butter, salad, second salad, third salad, appetizers, main course, meat is compulsory, accompanied by potatoes or rice, whatever the hardest for digestion combination, dessert. No way. Same goes for my boyfriend. And my brother. And his wife. And their kid. And my sister and stepdad. I know the drill. After everyone has left the table, hardly breathing, rolling, not walking, mum puts all the leftover food in the fridge. Nicely arranged in like zillion containers, it stays there for about four days. That`s roughly how long it takes for mum to give up on hoping someone will eat it. Never happens. So she has no choice but to throw it away. Wait. She does have a choice. To keep acting like as if we are living in a perfect little world or to start planning better so as to do the little she personally can to minimize the food waste. Because, just think about it. This is just one family. One. When I see all the food that goes to waste I can`t help but imagine this exact same picture in the apartment next door, the one below, the one above, the other three floors, the other neighborhood… and now multiply this by I don`t know how much exactly, but it is in billions. And she is an intelligent, educated, informed woman. Many of us today realize the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle, yet we don't quite do it. Over 34 million tons of food waste goes into landfills each year. 34 million tons! Over. So here is a list I made on what each and every one of us can do. It`s a start: •    Clean out the refrigerator and pantry.  Cook a meal or two with what you find. •    Do not throw out leftovers. Reheat and eat. •    Make better use of leftovers. Find recipes for creative dishes or freeze to eat another day. •    Donate leftovers from large meals to a local church or organization that feeds the homeless. •    Learn tricks to use more parts of vegetables and fruits.  Shredded broccoli stalks make amazing slaw! •    Be creative and make a meal with what's in the refrigerator. •    Shop more often.  Buy only enough for a few meals. •    Don't overbuy food.  Learn to make a grocery list and stick to it. •    Cook in batches. Save food for later by freezing. •    Scrape off mold on cheese, butter, and margarine.  It's still good! •    Use breathable produce bags to prolong the life of produce. •    Look for food in the least amount of packaging. •    Compost! Use food scraps to make organic soil for the garden. •    Don't shop at bulk warehouses unless all the food you buy will get used. •    Learn that food is still OK after the "Sell Buy" date. •    Grow your own food.  A container garden is a good start on your balcony or patio. •    Join a local sustainable garden group.  Lease a plot of land and learn how to farm and grow food yourself. •    Get involved in a community food bank. •    Buy food from local farmer's markets. •    Join a Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) group to get a share of organic food grown by the CSA each week or buy at the CSA markets. •    Learn how to can or preserve foods. •    Buy bruised fruits and vegetables.  They cost less, are still edible and great for canning, cobblers, and stews. •    Talk to the managers at your local markets to find out what they do with unsold foods and encourage them to use community resources to reduce food waste. •    Ask the chefs at your favorite restaurants to donate food to community food banks. •    Start a neighborhood group to exchange resources and recipes for minimizing food waste. If all of us would start with one or two of the 25 tips for minimizing food waste, we will be on our way to a real sustainable lifestyle.

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And at the end, every little counts. So next time you say to yourself “Well, nothing depends on me”, think again. That`s exactly what I keep telling my mum every time we go grocery shopping. Very soon it will result.