Food waste is a big problem but, like most other environmental issues, it’s also modern problem. For previous generations, wasting food was simply not an option however, development in trade and agriculture makes food accessible, cheap and most importantly, easy to replace.
It’s easy to blame issues like this on large supermarket chains and restaurants but the reality is that commercial food waste makes up a mere 2% of the big picture. The majority of food wasted in Europe is actually in the home; we hate to admit it but we’re all guilty of it from time to time.
Now, the bad news is that we are collectively responsible for food waste. So now we know that we as consumers are the so called bad guys, how can we turn this around? There are so many creative ways to cut down on food waste, here are some of our best tips:
Get friendly with your freezer
When it comes to storing food, your freezer is your best friend. Fruit for smoothies (including peeled bananas), bread, cheese, avocados, milk, as well as meal prep, can all be stored in the freezer. The list is endless.
Learn where to store what
One of the best ways to avoid wasting food is to know how make it last. For instance, carrots are best kept in a container of cold water in the fridge, whereas, potatoes prefer to be somewhere cool and dark like a cupboard. Find more food storage tips here.
Break the rules!
So many of us rely on “best before” dates to tell us when our food is no longer good to eat. In reality, these dates are not there for the customer’s safety but as a money-making scheme. Expiry dates only made their first appearance on supermarket shelves in the ‘70s! Let’s try the old-fashioned technique again - if something looks fine, isn’t growing mold and doesn’t smell bad, then it’s good to eat!
Practice mindful grocery shopping
With food being as accessible and cheap as it is today, it’s so easy to overbuy. The impacts of overbuying not only hit hard on the environment but also on your wallet. Next time you head out to restock your cupboards, make sure you know exactly what you have and exactly what you need beforehand. Also, use the “first in first out” method to keep older food most visible; that way it’s less likely to be forgotten and wasted.
Make good use of scraps
Every day we throw away kilos of fruit and veggie scraps that, more often than not, can be repurposed. Instead of sending your leftovers to landfill, why not try composting? You can also even use scraps to grow your own food! Check out how here. If you’re not that green-fingered, try repurposing food scraps by making veggie broth to keep you warm in the winter months.
The Groningen Free Cafe
Who doesn’t love free food? The fact that you’re saving food from landfill while eating it is just a bonus! Leftovers from the market are collected twice a week and made into a tasty and environmentally-friendly meal every Wednesday and Sunday (more info here).
The Too Good To Go App
Another money saving tip that also saves food that would otherwise go to waste is the Too Good To Go app. They are partnered with thousands of bakeries, restaurants and supermarkets all over the world - even in Groningen! This is a great opportunity to eat high quality, often expensive food at a low price - all while helping the environment.
The changes we need to make are not drastic but their impact on the environment is!
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