Dec 20, 2012

Help Reduce Food Waste over the Holidays!

Apparently, the EU doesn't only care about gender balance on corporate boards, but also about food waste. According to their website, each European wastes 180kg of food per year, totalling in at 90 million tonnes altogether annually. Globally, we are looking at 1.3 billion tonnes per year. And it doesn't look much better in developing countries: just as in industrialised countries, over 40% of food good for consumption is lost (in developing countries during harvest and processing, while in industrialised countries at retail and consumer level). This matters because food waste has massive environmental impacts - it's the cause of 17% of direct greenhouse gas emissions, immoderate waste production, and excessive water use, to name but a few negative effects.

So, the EU has come up with very helpful tips to reduce your own food waste which I summarized for you below. I find them especially helpful during holiday food shopping:

- Plan your meals by making a shopping list you stick to. Don't go food shopping hungry.
- Buy loose fruits and vegetables so you can buy just the quantity you really need. 
- Check the use-by and best-before dates. "Use-by" means the food is safe to eat until the indicated day. "Best-before" is still safe to consume after that date.
- Store your food according to the instructions on the package or in the fridge at 1-5 degrees C°.
- Put older items in the fridge or on the shelf to the front, as to avoid stuff going mouldy. 
- Serve smaller portions. People can always come back for more, but you might end up with an extra meal instead of throwing all uneaten food away. 
- Use the leftovers for lunch or dinner on the next day or freeze them for later.
- If you have a garden, compost your fruit and vegetable peelings. 
- Also, don't forget that wasting food means wasting money. Better to save up for something that won't go to waste!

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