The United Nations (UN) proclaimed the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on September 29, 2020. Reducing food waste would help stop climate change significantly. Think about all the resources that were needed to produce that food in the first place: Water, land, energy for production and harvesting, labor, packaging, energy for transportation…all for nothing if the food is not eaten.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 30 to 40 percent of the food produced is wasted in the United States with 31 percent of food loss coming from retail and consumers.
What can we do to reduce food waste?
Here are some ways to minimize food waste:
Do the kitchen check
- Clean out your kitchen and your fridge and collect all items that are spoiled or that you don’t want to eat anymore because they don’t look or smell good.
- Remove all packaging and make a picture of your waste before you dispose of it (click here for a list of items that can be composted)
- Make notes why those things didn’t get eaten. Did you buy too much and used only half? Did you forget about it because it disappeared in a corner of your fridge or cupboard? Did you try it and not like it?
- Now, when you go shopping again, make a list of items you really need and try to stick to your list with few exceptions.
- Before you throw food away, don’t just go by the date on the package. If it still looks and smells good it probably is still fine.
- Take a couple of minutes every three or four days to check what’s in your fridge that needs to be eaten soon and prepare it that day or the next day.
- Check your cupboards or food storage every two or three months for canned/dry food that needs to eaten before expiry dates.
Repeat the kitchen check 4 to 8 weeks later and compare your pictures. Is it less this time? Great. Is it not? Repeat ?
This is a cute short video from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explaining about food waste.
Help us! Every apple counts.
Get creative with leftovers
Being creative with leftovers and creating new meals out of them isn’t only good for the environment because it saves resources, it’s also good for your wallet and saves money.
- Use it to make croutons.
- Grate it and you have breadcrumbs.
- Mix it with non-dairy milk, let soak. Stir in peeled apple chunks, top off with a mixture of oats, chopped dates, cinnamon and margarine and bake for 35 Minutes on 340°F (170°C) as a nice dessert.
Leftover Cooked Potatoes
- Make roast potatoes with some other veggies (see left) and maybe some of your sauerkraut.
- Upcycle them for dumplings.
- Bake a potato bread.
Leftover Cooked Veggies
- Most of them can easily be converted to a salad. Finely cut a small onion. Make a dressing from the onions, a little mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a little agave sirup and pour it over your vegetable chunks. This works great with broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or romanesco but also with all kinds of beans.
- Put the cut up veggies in a casserole, spread some garlic cashew dip over them and gratinate them in the oven.
Leftover Pasta or Rice
- Make a noddle or rice salad.
- Mix them with some (leftover) veggies and a cashew or non-dairy cheese topping and make a casserole.
- Use the rice for fillings (i.e. pumpkins or bell pepper).
- Make a veggie soup and add pasta or rice shortly before serving the soup.