10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste For The Newbie Cook
18 months into cooking my meals, I’ve developed an internal system for staying on top of our produce to reduce food waste. But it has taken tossing moldy bagels, mushrooms and blueberries and countless limp celeries for me to get here. Yet, I still wasted some cheese last week!
I wish I’d learned how long the different food lasts when I was growing up so I didn’t have to learn with my gut feeling and rely on google searches. However, even without experience and scientific knowledge of shelf lives, there are ways to reduce food waste.
Why is it important to reduce food waste?
Globally, a third of the food produced is wasted every year, and the richer a nation is, the more food is wasted by consumers. Why? Because they have better buying power and food is more affordable. It’s a cruel irony.
Food waste is a huge problem. When we waste food, we not only waste the food we throw away, we also waste the resources that went into producing (like water and fertilizer or food for farm animals) and transporting them.
Eventually, food wastes that end up in landfills can’t decompose properly because they’re wrapped in plastic bags and buried beneath layers of trash, essentially creating an anaerobic condition. This causes the bacteria to produce copious amounts of methane, which is a bad greenhouse gas that traps more heat than carbon dioxide.
Food waste represents a source of wasted resources and carbon emission. In fact, if you want to lower your carbon footprint, one thing you can do is to reduce your food waste.
But the problem with food waste isn’t just an environmental one, it’s also a moral one. My frugal mom brought me up to not waste food. Her reason was always that we shouldn’t waste food because many in this world are starving. Although not wasting food wouldn’t magically channel the food to them, it’s an act of respect and gratitude.
On a side note, a lot of food waste occurs before consumers purchase their food, but that’s out of our immediate control, this article is focused on what we can do.