16 Ways to End Food Waste and Ensure We Have Enough Food for 2050
If you have heard of late some theories about how overpopulation will mean that populations will run out of food, you have been informed partially correctly, though those who preach about the lack of resources do not seem to take food waste into account. It is estimated that 60% more food will become necessary to feed the world’s population in 2050! The answer?
We should start by explaining how food waste works. At the moment, 40% of all food in the US goes to waste. Literally. Into the waste or garbage bin. On a global level, these numbers are up to 50%, with the poor having spoilage problems and the richer nations throwing things away they simply don’t like or want at the moment. There is not as much that could be done with spoilt food, but ensuring we buy only what we want and eat it before the expiry deadline would definitely be a good start.
What exactly makes up most of the food waste?
• Bruised fruits
• Overripe fruits
• Bent cucumbers
• Blemished tomatoes
• Split cloves
• Many tiny or irrelevant ugly marks on fruits and vegetables that are part of nature but offensive to the eyes.
Did you know that potatoes are #1 on the Waste and Resources Action Programme list in the UK?
More than 6 billion pounds of food go unharvested or unsold each year. Often farmers grow too much and have no way of selling it all to markets, leaving them to rot in the fields. 20% of fruits and vegetables are also tossed because they are not aesthetically pleasing.
The Modern Farmer has 11 recommendations on how to stop wasting food. That’s right, if every one of us starts becoming proactive in reducing food waste, we would have cut down the problem of feeding larger and larger populations by at least a quarter.
1. Food that begins to soften will regain its vitality if kept in a cup of cold water for an hour. That means your soggy looking cucumbers could be nice and hard again with little effort and there’s no need to throw out those slightly mushy tomatoes.
2. Keeping track of perishable items in your fridge might give you a better idea about what should be used by when. A whiteboard on your fridge or any other clearly visible note area could come in very handy, especially when you know that the organic fruit you bought only has a 5 day lifespan before it begins to look pretty bad.
3. If you have a refrigerator full of rather random perishables that you need to get rid of as soon as possible, make tonight’s dinner a nice stir-fry. Everything in one, an emptier fridge, no spoilt food and a delicious dinner it is.
4. Probably the easiest way to ensure nothing spoils is rearranging your fridge to keep perishables with the least lifespan at eye level, most visible when checking for food.
5. If you know you don’t have time to use or eat the perishables, the best alternative is to freeze them. A good freezer goes a long way. Plus, you get to keep fruits and vegetables for the winter when they are scarce or too expensive to come by.
6. Add weeks to herbs when you knot them into a plastic bag with 1-2 tablespoons of fresh water.
7. Early meal planning will come in very handy, especially in ensuring you only buy what you need and have no leftovers sitting around to spoil.
8. Freeze meat and fish if you have no more use for them, thawing them out only when having planned a meal that includes either source of protein. Using extra scraps to make soups or salads is also a great idea.
9. Keep the shopping small. It doesn’t matter if it’s on sale or if it comes in the jumbo pack and seems preferable. If the item is perishable, ensure you buy only what you need.
10. If something seems to be going bad, bake it. Fruits and vegetables will keep their nutrients and their taste, while cooking or baking will remove any trace of spoilage.
11. Cook or bake according to who you expect to feed. If you are living on your own and know you don’t have much of an appetite, ensure your portion sizes are made accordingly. This will cut down on the food left over and you will have no need to hunt down a stray cat or dog to feed.
If this is not enough, there are many more ways to ensure the food you buy or grow does not go to waste for unnecessary reasons.
Data: the more people know about the food that’s being wasted, the more conscious they will become of their actions. After all, we think more about the expensive stuff and food’s relative cheap value means that it is often thrown in the back wagon.
Technology: There are fridge’s now which tell you when foods are going bad and mobile apps which help you shop more efficiently. Use them.
Food Banks: Have too much food that you have no idea what to do with? Food banks will help redistribute to the needy, thus ensuring it is properly recycled and not gone to waste.
Compost: Spoilt food can have its positives as well. Mix it with soil and see how it adds to the beauty of your yard.
Propaganda: The more people see the dramatic versions of what I occurring around us through food waste, the less likely they are to waste it in the first place.
There are many avenues one can take to prevent food waste. What will yours be?