According to the most recent statistics, food waste has become a global problem. Almost half of the world’s food is thrown away, which amounts to more than two billion tons of food wasted annually. And yet, sadly and ironically, death from hunger continues to exist. It is thought that the average consumer wastes over 60 percent of the food he or she purchases. While the bulk of this issue is system-wide, here are some things you can do to prevent food waste on a more personal level:
- First and foremost, buy local. Locally produced foods are fresher and keep longer.
- Use shopping lists, do weekly menu planning, and avoid impulse buys.
- Eat your leftovers – how many times do we bring leftovers home from a restaurant and end up throwing them away? Eat them!
- Freeze food – You can freeze leftovers and/or fresh produce if you won’t be able to eat them before they perish.
- When eating out at restaurants, ask for smaller portions. Many times, restaurants offer half-portion sizes upon request.
- Consider purchasing an automatic vacuum sealer such as “Food Saver” to protect food from oxygen and other elements that accelerate decay.
- Start food composting – it benefits soil, plants, and the greater environment.
- Start your own vegetable garden – regardless of availability of space, one can learn simple techniques for growing vegetables.
- Food donation – any excess food can be given to food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens.