If you’re trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, reducing food waste should be at the top of your priorities list.
Not only is food waste, well, wasteful; it also contributes to various other environmental problems. Wasted food goes to landfills, and when it breaks down, it creates methane, “the second most common greenhouse gas,” Healthline reports.
If that doesn’t sound bad enough, consider how much water is used to grow and process foods that never actually get eaten. In fact, an estimated one-third of all food produced in the world ends up wasted or spoiled, according to Mashable. Though it might seem like a large-scale problem, each person is responsible for contributing to this destructive cycle.
In addition to our individual eating habits, the way we shop, prepare and consider our foods directly affects how much goes to waste. If you’re interested in helping the planet, trying to reduce your individual waste is a must.
Below, we’ve listed a few changes that anyone can make to help cut back on their food waste. Getting into these habits will not only benefit the world, but you’ll likely also save money spend on otherwise wasted food.
How to Reduce Food Waste
Though it might sound counterproductive, shopping more actually leads to less waste. Rather than doing one big shop on the weekend, make a point of doing more, smaller trips throughout the week. This will ensure that you’re buying what you need — and only what you need — rather than getting a ton of fruit and veg that will go bad before you can finish them.
In addition to shopping more, shopping “ugly” is a great way to reduce food waste. Certain stores like Harris Farm Markets have an entire section dedicated to misshapen produce, encouraging people to buy them at a discounted rate. Even if you shop at a regular grocery store, don’t be afraid to buy fruits or vegetables that are unconventional sizes or shapes. That way, you’ll be picking produce that might otherwise go unsold and end up in a landfill.
Squeeze or Freeze
Juicing and freezing are both great ways to reduce food waste. Otherwise wasted parts of the food are often more pleasant juiced, such as kale stalks or fruit skins. It’s also a good idea to juice fruits and vegetables that are perfectly ripe if you don’t think you’ll finish them, and freeze them to use in smoothies later.
Juice isn’t the only thing you can freeze, and it’s one of the best and easiest ways to preserve food that might be wasted. Freezing fruits, veg, meat and even cooked meals is not only less wasteful — it can also be a huge time and money saver.
With veggie scraps or bones from meat, you can easily make your own stocks to use in future dishes. Vegetable stock can be easily made from stems, skins, and peels which are cooked in oil and then simmered in water. Meat stocks can be made the same way, by simply adding meat scraps or bones in with the vegetables. Once you’ve made and strained your stock, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray for an easy way to season anything you cook.