On June 5th, we celebrated World Environment Day, an annual event that provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the environment in our lives and to encourage responsible behaviors toward the planet's limited resources.
Food waste is a global problem that has significant consequences for the environment and climate change. However, each of us can contribute to being part of the change. In this article, we will explore some simple ways to reduce food waste at home and minimize the impact on the environment.
Learning to shop consciously is one of the first steps to take in reducing food waste. Shopping consciously means, first and foremost, not buying an excessive amount of food but limiting purchases to what is necessary for the period you consider, especially when it comes to fresh foods with imminent expiration dates.
It also means considering the environmental impact, origin, sustainability, quality, and health of products, avoiding excessive packaging and favoring locally sourced products.
Food storage is one of the key factors in reducing food waste. Today, there are many solutions that allow you to store food for the long term, such as airtight bags and reusable containers that can be used over and over again. There are many brands to choose from, and many of them use recyclable materials and plastics.
Additionally, make sure to keep your refrigerator clean and organized. This will help you easily view your food and prevent it from expiring or spoiling.
Not everything that remains needs to be thrown away. On the contrary, food leftovers can often be eaten the next day, reused to create new recipes, or added to salads, soups, or stews, making them even more delicious. In some cases, leftovers are even tastier the day after!
A good practice to avoid leftovers or use them consciously in other recipes is to plan your weekly meals in advance. Consider the ingredients you already have and create a weekly culinary calendar. This way, you'll avoid impulse purchases at the supermarket and know exactly which and how many ingredients you need, minimizing waste.
Expiry dates and food rotation
Try to regularly check the expiry dates of food items and organize ingredients based on their expiration sequence in the fridge and pantry. One piece of advice is to write the expiry date on labels and stick them on the packaging to keep them in view. Also, consume items that are expiring soon first to avoid waste.
Home food production
Food waste is an inevitable consequence of an unsustainable lifestyle. Adopting sustainable behaviors in your daily life can be a first step to avoid waste and feel better about yourself. By the way, if you're interested in this topic, we've written an article on how to live more sustainably with five simple and healthy habits!
According to a study conducted by the Waste Watcher International Observatory in 2023 with a sample of 1200 individuals, the weekly average of wasted food is 524.1 grams. The most wasted foods are fresh fruits and salads. However, this is a positive figure considering it is the lowest recorded since January 2021.
One possible solution to promote good food and leftovers management is to spread urban farming in cities, encouraging the creation of urban gardens in neighborhoods and the adoption of cultivation practices in citizens' homes, balconies, or terraces. This practioce allows:
1. Local production and waste reduction: growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs directly in cities reduces the dependence on food products from remote areas and, therefore, the potential for waste during the distribution process. Furthermore, with an urban garden, you can grow just the amount of food needed for your family's consumption, reducing leftovers.
2. Composting: urban farming offers the opportunity to use food scraps as compost to fertilize garden soil. This completes the food cycle and reduces waste, turning food scraps into nutrient resources for new crops.
3. Raising awareness about food value: Urban farming involves people in self-producing fruits and vegetables, creating greater awareness about the value of food.
Every year, tons of food are discarded, contributing to negative impacts of climate change, deforestation, and resource depletion. Urban farming promotes local production, reduces food waste, encourages the use of leftovers for composting, and raises awareness of the fundamental issue of food.
By starting to farm in cities, you will help avoid food waste and promote a more sustainable management of food resources.
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