Earth Day 2021: 7 Tips to Reduce Food Waste At Home
On April 22, the world celebrates the 51st Anniversary of Earth Day. This year's theme is "Restore Our Earth," and one way to do that at home is to practice sustainable eating. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, food waste contributes to eight to ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Food thrown in plastic bags and end up in landfills can release methane, a type of greenhouse gas that is 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.
Reduce Food Waste at Home
To reduce food waste at home, here are some simple changes to make:
Plan your meals.
Sustainable Table suggests planning your meals ahead so you can make sure that you'll be using everything you'll be buying in the grocery. You can also keep dry staples like rice, pasta, and beans as those have a long shelf life and will complement a lot of meat and vegetable dishes.
Shop with less plastic.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that when buying groceries, bring reusable bags to carry your goods home. When possible, opt for packaging-free fruits and vegetables. You can also use your voice to ask local retailers to find alternate means of packaging.
Save your scraps.
Have you heard of "root to leaf" or "roof to stem" eating? This means maximizing the leftovers from vegetables or fruits to make new meals, drinks, or snack items. You can use vegetable scraps to flavor stocks. You can also fry wilted kale and make kale chips. Overripe fruits can be made into shakes or jams.
Grow your own food.
If you have space, try growing your own food. It can help you appreciate the process and prevent you from throwing out the fruits of your hard work. According to the Food Network, some of the easiest vegetables to grow at home are tomatoes, carrots, herbs, and summer squash. Some of this can grow on small pots in smaller spaces.
Store food properly.
Storing fruits and vegetables in the wrong places will hasten the ripening process, and you'll end up with overripe produce. For example, apples produce ethylene gas which affects the ripening schedule of other produce. Store them separately and make sure to eat the ripe ones right away. For more storage tips on other produce, check out this storage guide from Hungry Harvest.
Use food preservation techniques.
In this time of COVID-19, buying in bulk saves time and prevents people from going out often. If you've purchased fruits and veggies in bulk, buy them time by freezing, dehydrating, or canning. Here's a guide to home food preservation from Master Class.
If you have a suitable space, start composting. Some materials from the kitchen that can be composted are fruits and vegetables, eggshells, nutshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags. You can use the compost for your garden. It can be added to soil to help your plants grow. Eco Cycle can teach you backyard composting here.