Can Less Food Waste Save Our Planet?

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Sure, you may not love that meal your parents packed for you, but don’t throw it out!  Don’t waste food and valuable resources!  The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization states that one in three people are malnourished.  However, keep in mind, 1.3 billion metric tons of food is wasted every year.

Food waste is both an economic and environmental issue.  As the world’s population increases, this issue is only expected to get worse, unless we can be less wasteful.  Meanwhile, the environment is being harmed because it takes a lot of water, fertilizer, and land to produce food.  Not to mention, this significantly contributes to issues like global warming and excessive landfill waste.

According to another FAO study, 54% of food waste occurs through food production, harvesting, handling, storage, processing, distribution, and consumption stages.  But, why should you care?

When you dump leftovers, you’re not only throwing out food that someone else in the world needs., you’re also throwing out all the resources that went into producing your food.  This includes energy, water, and fuel.  Food waste easily becomes a lot of water waste.

The World Resources Institute says that 135 trillion liters of water are lost for every 1.3 billion metric tons of food waste. Believe it or not, agricultural practices consume most of the water used every year, about 70% of it.  A quarter of that goes into draining the food waste.

The food waste that ends up in landfills then produces methane.  Methane is a greenhouse gas. A report stated that if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases, next to the US and China.  

What you can do about it

You cannot solve this issue alone, but every step you make towards less food waste. Here are ten things you can do to reduce your food waste!

1.    Grocery List

When you go shopping, save yourself some money and food you’ll throw out anyway.  Buy only what you need and will eat.  Avoid buying things in bulk if they have a small expiration date.  Then, if you get food with a short expiration date, make sure to eat it first!

2. Smaller Portions

Get healthy and save the Earth all at the same time just by consuming smaller portions!  If you don’t put more than you can eat on your plate, you won’t waste as much food.  

3. Buy Quality 

Buy quality food.  If you purchase vegetables and fruits, make sure they’re in great condition, so you won’t end up throwing them out.  Sometimes they have dents or rotten spots.  But at the same time, don’t throw out food you’ve boughten if it’s got just a few bad spots.  You can cut out the nasty parts and eat the rest!  It’s perfectly fine!

4. Monitor the Fridge

Monitor your fridge at all times to keep your food safe.  If it gets too warm, everything will rot.  If it’s too cold, that’s just as bad.  Prevent the need to throw out food.

5. Reuse and Recycle

Keep looking for opportunities to reuse or recycle food.  If you really cannot stand that can of beets in your pantry, give it to the food shelter where starving people would love that can of beets. Anytime you have excess, unopened, food, donate it to your local food bank.  It’s much appreciated!

If you’re the farmer, retailer, food processor, or consumer, it’s your responsibility to reduce waste.  You can start today by finishing those veggies on your plate that you may not love!

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