It is a common fact that people buy more food than they need. The world has become full of wasters. Forgetful, absent-minded people unable to plan the shopping list and visit the grocery store without buying products they do not really need them. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how harmful food waste is to the environment and the number of problems that it causes. And as long as we always aspire to buy more food, it doesn’t really matter whether we trash it or not. We wish to eat healthy and introduce our children to new types of food or try a new recipes. But when it comes down to it, we like to eat what we like to eat. We want to make things that are easy and fast and we know how to make. Buying different food sometimes is giving us the wrong ideas, because what seems exciting in market is a lot less so when we get home in our kitchens.
Those who care about this trouble would say that the key to solving the problem lies in the planning. To stop wasting food one must carefully plan its necessities or consider other strategies. One of them is to acknolewge that you do not need too much food and light up the creativity to cook with the ingrediants you already have in your fridge. Gaining a deeper level of conscienceless when we shop and when we eat is the root of solving the problem with food waste.
Our planet’s population has reached a number of 7 billion and the terryfing fact is that 1 billion are starving. Yet, according to many researches, more than 30% of the world’s food productions is being thrown away in the garbage. This means that the annual waste food is 1.3 billion tons which is more than enough for 3 billion people. Is this shocking statistics sufficient to alarm the consumers, who unfortunately do not see themselves as part of the problem?
The truth is, few of us are aware that food is the greatest contributor to landfills and therefore a big generator of greenhouse gasses. Another fact that almost no one is familiar with is that we waste 25% of our fresh water to make food that goes in the garbage. By throwing away all this food, without using it as ingrediants for later, we are damaging our planet. The thing is, no household is ready to admit any contribution to this particular problem. Here rises another challenge, it is not enough to just tell people not to waste the food, what is more important is to find the way how to educate them on how to store food or how to cook an appropriate amount.
Generally, consumers tend to pay attention on expiration dates that are prompting them to throw away tons of food. The question is that even if microbiology warns when food is no longer safe to be eaten, what most consumers don’t comprehend is that ‘best before’ date refers rather to quality than safety, and that consumers are safe to eat that product after this date has expired.
Mountains of food are thrown out every day in the rich countries, while some of the poorest people still struggle to figure out their next meal. Those who can afford to buy food with no problem and throw it away, rarely consider how much they find alternatives to sending unwanted food to the landfill.
We are facing a global problem, which is a shame for human population and we must address the challenge to all of us, because no matter how aware we are, we must admit how little we undertake to solve this. By discussing, reading and sharing ideas, we don’t really help, we just take a distant position and feel comfortable just knowing that we take part in something that most people are not interested in. So, in a way, we are being hypocrites, because we need to accept our own responsibility. Fighting food waste must be one of the central issues of our time. We must accept that the entire culture, at least the ones in rich and developed societies, is characterized around waste. So it’s no wonder that we don’t think twice if we really need something, because we consider instantly the option to throw it away and buy new straight away. But, everything seems routine to us, we hardly make a pause and think about our actions and how they affect the system.
As consumers, we all have a responsibility to be smart and think before we buy, i.e. to stop being victims of a subconscious act and raise awareness of how much food we throw away. We also must learn to check the dates and be aware on the meaning of date labels: “use by” means that the food is only safe for consumption, until the indicated day; “best before” indicates the date up until when the product retains its expected quality. Another important thing is to rotate. When we buy new food from the store, bring all the older items in the cupboards and fridge to the front. Put the new food at the back to reduce the risk of finding something old in our food storage compartments. Serve small amounts of food because everybody can ask for more once they’ve cleared their plate. Use our leftovers: Instead of throwing them into the bin, they can be used for lunches the following day, or be frozen for another occasion. Old fruit can be used for smoothies or fruit pies. Vegetables that are starting to wilt can used for making soups.
Like everything else, it’s not enough to just understand all the information, but to be brave and apply it to our own lifestyles. Use the knowledge to discuss improving strategies for the consumer habits and to promote the best practices among local governments by sharing common sense and the idea that we are contributing for a better world.