Frequent studies have claimed that wasted food is the second largest component of municipal solid waste. Over 34 million tons of food is wasted every year in the U.S every year which accounts to 14% of the total waste stream. Only a fraction of this waste can recovered through composting programs, rest all goes into landfills where the decomposing foods produces methane, a toxic greenhouse gas,20 times more harmful and damaging than Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Our personal efforts thus count a lot in closing the gap on food waste and all its associated cost. Here are some simple strategies if diligently followed can help reduce food waste:
- Planning meals ahead of time- This is one of the best method a family can adopt to reduce food wastage. Making a list of food preferences of the individual family members enables you to plan meals efficiently and use up the ingredients you have in hand. The leftover too can be used up in subsequent meals. Planning meals also means that you are not buying surplus when buying your groceries.
- Freezing surplus vegetables for later use- If you have a small patch of garden where you grow vegetables make sure you store them well when there’s an excess. Others without a garden can make up proper space in the refrigerator to store up the extra bought for the week. To make the most of the limited freezer space, vegetables can be chopped and put into sealed bags before freezing up.
- Process or dehydrate surplus- Some fruit that are in a danger of getting spoiled easily, the solution is to process them or can the produce for later use. Like an easy way to deal with surplus tomatoes is to make sauce out of it and stored into glass jars. If you are lucky to have a food dehydrator, you can as well as dry and preserve a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and meats.
- Compost the kitchen waste- At the end of the day whatever food waste you are left with, make sure you compost it and use it for something purposeful like garden fertilizer. Don’t discard the wasted food, keep a bucket with lid at a convenient position near the chopper board, store up the leftovers and use it as landfills later.
Try out the above methods for a month and note the difference you make. We can as individuals and families can help to lessen the impact with this relatively little effort.