Wasting food does more harm than many of us know. Close to one on in three of food produced, in fact, is either wasted or discarded. That’s almost 1.3 bn tons a year. Unsurprisingly, such industrialised counties as the United States waste more food than developing nations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that the average American in 2010 generated around 99 kg of food waste. And if you don’t think that you’re affected by food waste, you may wish to think again.
It doesn’t simply waste money when you throw food away. Wasted food is sent to landfills from where, besides rotting, it’s responsible for methane gas production, methane being one of the most common greenhouse gases. So yes, throwing out food most definitely contributes to the climate change crisis. The World Resources Institute claims that food waste also wastes vast amounts of water, with 24 per cent of all agricultural water lost every year as a result of food waste. That’s around 170 trillion litres. While these figures may seem alarming, you can help to reduce them by adhering to the following tips.
The majority of food shoppers often buy more food than needed. While buying food in bulk can be convenient, studies have proven that this method of shopping results in more food waste. To prevent buying more food than you really need, make regular shopping tricks as opposed to making one big shopping trip a week. Also, use the food you previously purchased before going out to buy more. Finally, list all the items you need and ensure that you only stick to the list. This will prevent impulse buying, as well as help to reduce food waste.
Learn how to preserve
You could be forgiven for thinking that pickling and fermenting are new fads but such techniques in food preservation have been used for thousands of years. Pickling, which is a method of food preservation using vinegar or brine, may have even been used since 2400 BC. Curing, freezing, fermenting, canning, drying, and pickling are methods that you can use to make your food last and reduce waste. These methods will reduce your carbon footprint as well as save you money. Most food preservation techniques are also fun and simple.
Eat the skin
When preparing food, people often peel off the skin from fruits, vegetables and chicken. However, it’s actually healthier to avoid doing that as many nutrients can be fount in the skin of poultry and in the outer layer of produce. Apple skins, for example, contain large amounts of antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins and minerals. Researchers have even discovered triterpenoids, a group of compounds, in apple peels that work as antioxidants in the body and may even have cancer-fighting abilities.
There are also plenty of nutrients in chicken skin, such as healthy fats, protein, and vitamins A and B. It’s also a great source of selenium, an antioxidant that helps to fight inflammation in the body. The benefits go beyond apple and chicken skin. The outer layer of eggplants, kiwis, mangoes, cucumbers, carrots, and potatoes are also nutritious and edible. Eating the skin is not only delicious but is also economical and cuts down on the impact of food waste.