Annually, The United States throws away nearly 40% of its food. With increasing portion sizes, and the fit body concept growing in today’s world, this amount is likely to be increased in near future.
Dana Gunders, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the author of, “The waste free kitchen Handbook”. In her book she had mentioned that USA is wasting 50% more food now, than it did in 1970s. Upon which she says that, the portion sizes have grown enormously since then. Adding up to this she also marked that, it has become normal for the restaurants to offer a lot on their menu and people taking more than what they need.
Expectations for more food has increased: In a research NRDC has found that people are not comfortable with left out spaces in their plates or in their refrigerators or shopping carts, there’s always an urge to fill those spaces with food. Throwing food has now become a part of today’s culture and leaving food on plate is considered posh behavior. A lot of produce isn’t picked up from market because of some or the other reasons and instead of filling someone’s tummy that food is tossed away in soil.
About 70% of water and 50% of land is devoted to agriculture. With the growing wastage of food, we are just contributing towards the unnecessary use of the vital resources. Out of all the food that gets wasted, meat has the biggest impact, if a Hamburger is thrown, that’s equivalent of taking 90-minutes of shower, in terms of the water it took to get produced.
To cut on these wastages, buy fruits and veggies from the salad bar, so the extra won’t rot in the fridge. One could always switch to buy frozen versions, which almost has the same nutritional value.
Generally we buy out groceries during weekends, because we feel ambitious about cooking throughout the week, but by mid-week we get the reality check from life and we often end up taking out food from restaurants. And then the food items which we took, goes bad. Instead, plan for that. Shop often, shop less.
Carry a “Waste review”: Check for few weeks and speck out all the things that we generally throw, find possible reasons for it and if possible, write down the money invested in that particular item, so that the financial pain would take over the mind and would help out in taking better decisions in future.
Carry a close look on the expiration dates: A “use by” or “best by” date classically reveals the timeline by which the product will be at its best quality. There may be a change in taste, color, or texture after the date has passed. Make sure to utilize the products before the date.
We will eventually be throwing out the food that has expired, but that is for our good, instead of consuming the expired products, it’s better to throw them out, the main reason for illness is pathogens like salmonella and E. coli that contaminate food at the farm or processing plants.
There are certain ways to use the leftovers: for vegetables, people could easily toss them into a salad or fried rice, for meat, people could bring out whole new combinations, putting it into a sandwich or burger.
By these methods people could conveniently limit the wastage of food and contribute towards a healthier and safer environment.