Did you know that almost one-third of the food produced for human consumption worldwide ends up getting wasted? That’s the equivalent of around 1.3 billion tons every year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Wasting food is not just a simple issue of money going down the drain. It also means that water is getting wasted and that the climate is being negatively affected. That’s the case because food waste, naturally, translates into water waste as it is water that was used to grow most of these thrown away food in the first place! Additionally, wasted food ends up rotting in landfills, producing methane, which plays a role in climate change.

So, what can you do to live more sustainably and help save water, the climate, and your money? Here are a few things that you can do to reduce your food waste:

  • Use. It. All

Many of us may not be big fans of the stalks, tops, or ends of some fruits and vegetables. Rightly so, but would it still be such a bad idea to toss them into a smoothie or a soup? We don’t think so! Blending unwanted parts of food into other dishes/drinks is a great way to get the most out of it without compromising on taste. Simply toss the parts you don’t like with other dishes and voila!

A glass filled with a green smoothie and two straws

Photo courtesy of The Busy Baker’s blog

  • Repurpose it

Did you know that the leftover coffee grounds lying inside your mug aren’t only good for throwing in the trash bin? They can double as a great fertilizer for your plants at home or at the office! What about using old bread to make croutons? Finding a new purpose for old or seemingly useless, consumed food items is a smart way to be more sustainable and reduce your food waste. So, every time you think that the remnants of what you just ate are useless, think again!

Green seedlings growing in a mix of soil and coffee

Photo courtesy of Jones Brothers Coffee

  • Double check your storage techniques

Can how you store your food be affecting how long it stays edible/fresh? It totally can. For example, did you know that cucumbers and tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and not in the fridge (if it’s not too hot outside)? Did you also know that certain foods like bananas, tomatoes, peaches, green onions, avocados, etc. produce a gas called ethylene that can speed up the ripening process of other foods stored next to them? Making sure you’re storing food the right way can help reduce a significant amount of unnecessary food waste without much hassle.

Labelled jars of multiple food items

Photo courtesy of Clean Green Simple

  • Be smarter about grocery shopping

Instead of going to the grocery store once a week and bulk buying all you need, go multiple times a week whenever an item or two are missing. This can help give you a better sense of what you actually need as opposed to what you buy just out of convenience or impulse. Also, planning your grocery shopping trips using lists or any other method you find useful is key to making sure your food waste is at a minimum level and that your shopping is more sustainable.

A cart at the supermarket

Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Kwangmoozaa

  • Be more aware of your portions

Going out with friends or having lunch on campus? Why not share your dish/sandwich with a friend if it’s too big for you? Many of us fall into this trap of ordering something only to find out later that we won’t finish it because we’re too full. Sharing your dish with someone else is a simple way out of this issue. If sharing food isn’t really your thing, you can always ask your waiter to pack your leftovers as a takeaway and eat the rest of your meal later.

People sharing a dish

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

 

Check our references:
-“20 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste” by Jillian Kubala. Healthline. 
SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

-“Why Food Waste Means Water Waste” by Kristen James. Ceres.