Why Food Waste?
Food is a part of our everyday lives. We all have that in common! Each and every one of us eat. Unfortunately, another thing most of us share in common is that we all waste a certain amount of food.
I’m sure there is no one out there that likes throwing out food. Food waste not only wastes our money, but the excess of food waste around the world has an immense negative impact on climate change. Why? When we throw out food into our garbage, it is sent to the landfill in a mix of other materials. The problem with throwing out food (organic materials), with other garbage is that it creates a chemical reaction and releases methane—a harmful greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere. The release of methane accelerates the rate of climate change. When you compost, it is however a different story (click here to learn why). With that being said, avoiding food waste in the first place is truly the best solution. Let's think about a common scenario we’ve probably all been through.
You’re on your way home from work, empty stomach, and you make a last minute decision to go to the grocery store. You walk into a colourful, ad filled, discount abundant store and fill up your cart with lots of goodies, fresh fruit, and treats. You get into your house (or maybe even just to your car) and grab the first thing you see (maybe the candy bar at the top of the bag) and indulge.
We’ve all been there. The problem with these last minute spontaneous shopping trips is that we often buy more than we need, and are more likely to fill up our fridges with food that we don’t necessarily need.
We can see that the root to these problems is that we are not setting ourselves up for success. We can prevent these situations easier when we take care of ourselves. As I’ve repeated throughout my past articles, mindfulness is at the centre of all that we do. When we are stressed, sad, lonely or maybe even reckless, we do things that aren’t good for us and perhaps out of character. We shall not beat ourselves up for our actions in these moments, but rather reflect on the situation so that history doesn’t repeat itself. When we are in these head-spaces we need to challenge ourselves to reflect upon what will truly nourish us (easier said than done)! We must learn how to set ourselves up for success so that we can properly take care of our bodies, mind and the environment. That all comes down to our lifestyle and building habits that mean something to us. When we build these habits we notice a win for our health and our positive impact!
Here are a few ways we can set ourselves up for success to waste less food:
Plan when you are going to go shopping. Have some sort of regularity in your routine—maybe The Lupine Market every Friday night in the summer? Pick up foods that are on your grocery list... which leads me to my next point:
Have a list on your fridge/somewhere accessible where you can note what you would like to buy next time you go shopping. Planning in advance gives some space for planning your meals accordingly, and on the plus side, you are making less trips to the store which saves you a car ride (if that is the method of transport you use to get your food).
Buy reduced food items. Many grocery stores and small farmers markets will offer older food for a reduced price. Buying this food ensures that it doesn’t go into the landfill but rather fuels you and your family! Check out this awesome website for reduced food near you!
Place "Eat Me First" reminders in your fridge. Practice organizing older foods/meals at the front of the fridge so you don’t abandon them or designate a spot in your fridge for the "Eat Me First" items.
Freeze and meal prep for days when you are feeling extra lazy. Do you have peppers that are going bad? Chop them up before they reach a point of no return and freeze them for your next stir fry! This can be applicable for many other vegetables too.
Share your food! When you make a little extra of something that may be too much for your little belly, text your neighbour, best friend, or someone next door and share your meal! If you’re going away and have extra food in your fridge don’t neglect it but rather try to find it a new home! You’re saving the food and putting a smile on someone’s face, win-win! (Food sharing programs exist in some communities. There may be some Facebook groups, sites, or apps specific to your community that help tackle food waste. The goal of food sharing is to ensure all food gets a home and doesn’t go to waste. It helps people obtain free food and puts food in our bellies, not the landfill!)
What do you do to reduce your food waste? Share with us your favourite tips!
Take it Slow,
Looking to learn more about food waste? Watch this
Want to see how Canadians are tackling food waste? Click here!