Food Waste issue in the U.S. and How to solve it from home?EcoMeego
The food waste issue has not gained much hype in recent times. However, that doesn’t mean it is of any less importance. People waste around 76 billion pounds of food in U.S. households every year, according to ReFED. This number is increasing at an alarming rate and could be a reason behind a major global crisis. You’d be surprised to know that the food you waste in your kitchen can help solve the global hunger issue. The mismanagement is preventing us from helping the food-deficit countries. Moreover, it is also a potential threat to our planet’s resources.
Therefore, in this blog, I shall give you a quick insight into the importance of food waste management. I shall also talk about how you can contribute right from your kitchen!
What is the food waste issue?
Food waste is a global issue. Food that you don’t consume but throw away refers to food waste. Even though there isn’t much awareness about this issue, it is one of the major causes of environmental problems.
Fruits and vegetables that get overripe end up in the trash can and are more vulnerable to end up in waste. Besides, you could easily store food prepared in bulk for the next meal. It also puts a question on important resources like money. If you learn to manage food waste, you will ultimately save money and contribute to the environment.
Why is food waste an important issue?
The food waste issue has started gaining attention recently in the states. However, it has been around for quite a while. Consumers prefer buying stuff in bulk, ignoring the quantity that is actually required, which leads to the wastage of food.
Restaurants and retailers also contribute equally to the problem. If you are a regular customer of a retailer, you would want to have plenty of options on your plate. It leads to these restaurants or supermarkets to stock food items to make their shelves look appealing. On the other hand, business owners like to give customers a variety of options to win them over.
The lack of awareness in people is another reason that makes food waste a critical issue. Awareness amongst the masses will help to identify this problem on a larger scale. It will also help establish grounds through which one can calculate the progress.
Where does one waste food?
While restaurants and retailers contribute majorly to food waste issues, homes also remain a very large source of food waste. In this section, I have named all the sources which contribute to food waste.
In the United States, people dump around 40% of the total food produced in waste. Restaurants contribute a total of 4 to 10 percent of this figure. The diners mostly leave food after a couple of bites. Since people don’t even consider taking the food home, it ultimately ends up in the trash can.
Besides, the mismanagement in a restaurant’s store leads to the expiration of products. The employees later discard these products mindlessly.
In supermarkets and stores, perishable food is more vulnerable to getting wasted. It includes prepared food, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and meat. The main reason for wastage of food in the retail business is the overstocking of food items.
You kids aren’t big fans of green vegetables, and their disinterest ultimately forces you to throw the food in the trash. Your guests are over for dinner, and after they are gone, you have to throw most of the leftovers. These two examples give a little clarity on how food gets wasted right under your nose. When the food at home isn’t stored correctly, it turns bad before you can consume it. Not only that, but many consumers also discard food items pertaining to date label confusion.
How can you solve this problem right from your kitchen?
Charity begins at home is a very famous saying that can be easily put to use here. Therefore, you can start to make a change right from your kitchen. I mean, you can always try different methods of managing food that prevents food from getting wasted. Mentioned below are some of the tips.
Take home only the essential food items and make sure you consume them in a couple of days. Buying food in bulk may seem like a good idea for your pocket. However, buying less actually helps you save money.
Always prepare a list before you go to the market
Check the things that require a refill at home and jot it down in a notepad. If you buy food that is already present at home, you will have to throw it in the coming time.
Think of reusing food items
Many fruits and vegetables can be put into soups and smoothies even when you feel like they are overripe. Besides, you can also use unused bread to make croutons for your soup.
Prepare just enough amount of food
While preparing food for your family, make sure you only put as many ingredients as required. Preparing more food than your family actually needs can lead to spoiling of food, which will ultimately end up in the trash. On the other hand, many households do not like eating leftovers and end up wasting food.
Store perishable food in the freezer or refrigerator
Fruits and vegetables turn bad if you don’t store them in suitable conditions. Therefore, to prevent them from rotting, store them inside a freezer or refrigerator.
Distribute food to someone in need
Many people sleep empty stomach without eating a single bite. Therefore, if you have leftover food, distribute it to someone in need.
Benefits of reducing food waste
If you really think about it, reducing food waste has various benefits.
When you start buying less food, you will save a considerable amount of money. Another benefit of reducing food waste is that you will indirectly contribute to the environment. It prevents pollution by lowering methane emissions from landfills. Besides, you will also provide support to your community by donating food to the ones in need.
Now that you have an idea about the food waste issue, you can take the steps mentioned above to overcome it. I really hope you find this article informative. Let’s make this world a better place.