I once did a report for school about food waste, and it is truly staggering!
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Association (FAO), the global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tons, with a global cost of $750 billion annually. “Each day 35 to 40 percent of food that is grown or raised is wasted, and 71 percent of global water consumption is used to irrigate crops,” said Dan Glickman, former U.S. secretary of agriculture.
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Really think about that for a minute…
1.6 BILLION TONS OF FOOD!
Food Waste Hurts More than Your Wallet
Often times when we think of food waste we just think of the immediate impact it can have on our wallets. What we don’t always think about it the things we can’t immediately see, such as the impact on the animals or the environment.
I know that was my mentality for a long time. If I couldn’t see it happening, I didn’t really care about it. But as I have gotten older I have become increasingly aware of how my actions impact the environment.
I have invited guest contributor Johanna Cider joins here today to share her tips on how to minimize food waste to not only protect your wallet but also the environment.
5 Tips for Minimizing Food Waste
The amount of waste we produce is a pressing environmental issue facing our world today. Plenty of our everyday household items can be recycled or reused rather than condemned to landfill, and food is one of the most common things we regularly throw out unnecessarily.
Every year, billions of dollars’ worth of food is wasted around the world. If you’re wondering why minimizing food waste is so crucial, consider the following reasons:
Fruit can take months to grow, let alone the time it takes to be picked, prepared, and shipped. Meat takes even longer – the animal has to be alive for a certain amount of time, and in that time, the animal itself is consuming food.
If a person then throws away their uneaten apples or their package of salami, the earth’s resources are being wasted, including its food and water. Be a responsible consumer and always consume the food you buy, as this helps reduce your household’s impact on the environment.
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All too often, our waste ends up in the sea, especially if it’s dumped near to beaches. While food waste isn’t as terrible for the ocean as plastic is, there are plenty of foods fit for human consumption that can cause harm to animals if consumed.
Animals in cities are also becoming reliant on rummaging through trash cans for their meals, to the detriment of their health. Avoiding discarding food waste in public places helps a little towards reducing these problems, but it’s better to take it one step further and avoid wasting food altogether.
By only buying what you need, you’ll both save money and reduce demand for products, which in turn will help producers to know when to reduce the supply of time-sensitive food items.
Slowing climate change
Climate change is going to affect us all, but we can do our part to halt its progress. Food waste is a massive contributor to global climate change – food being sent to landfills results in many millions of ton of greenhouse gas emissions being released each year. To help the future of the planet we call home, we all need to make changes where possible.
You’ll likely find that once you get the hang of managing your food waste, your life will become a little simpler. The main key to reducing waste is staying organized – plan your meals in advance, and you’ll easily be able to cut down on the amount of food you’re throwing out.
If you do end up with more than you can eat, get a little creative and try a new recipe – you’ll likely have friends or family that’d happily take a meal off your hands. Once you’re in the habit of always finishing the food you buy, grocery shopping will also become easier; you’ll quickly learn how to assess what you’re likely to consume before its expiration date.
If you’ve tried to curb your food waste but you still end up with an excess of it from time to time, there are plenty of creative ways to dispose of it without compromising the environment. You could create a worm farm for food scraps, or get involved with a business that turns food waste into useful products. Reducing your food waste is as simple as planning ahead and only buying what you need, and you’ll sleep easy knowing that your impact on the earth has been minimized.
Johanna loves gardening and eating homegrown organic produce, and has just started learning about preserving her own fruits and vegetables. She supports local businesses such as Sea Containers – which offers eco-friendly alternative housing solutions. You can follow Johanna on Tumblr.