How To Reduce Food Waste?

May 16, 2022sustainability, zero waste

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Food waste is becoming a bigger problem than at any time in history. The abundance we live in leads to more food waste globally than ever before. With our daily choices, we are voting for our future – is it going to be a good one or a bad one? Solutions to the food waste problem are simpler than you might think and you can start reducing food waste in your home now.


Definition of food waste

Let’s define food waste first, shall we?

There are two types of wasted food: food waste and food loss.

UN Environment Programme offers this food waste definition:

Food waste refers to food that completes the food supply chain up to a final product, of good quality and fit for consumption, but still doesn’t get consumed because it is discarded, whether or not after it is left to spoil or expire.

In other words, food waste is the food that actually gets to the shelves in the stores but doesn’t get consumed for whatever reason.

Food loss, on the other hand, is the food that gets spoiled, spilled, or otherwise lost before it reaches the shelves.

Both types of food waste are problematic and account for the global food problems like hunger, climate change, economic loss, etc.


Photographer Marek Studzinski, Unsplash

Ph: Marek Studzinski


Food waste statistics

If your question is, “Is food waste really a problem?” let me tell you that statistics on food waste are kinda scary to look at.

Let’s start with the biggest and most shocking one: one-third of all food produced in the world is either wasted or lost. That is about 1.3 billion tonnes. Let me draw it for you: 1.3 billion tonnes = 1 300 000 000 000 kg. That’s just mass. Financially, it adds up to $940 billion each year. That is how much food waste there is in the world every year.

Yeah, food waste is a problem.

Food waste also has an environmental impact that’s worrying (and one of the reasons people are acting on it). 10% of green gas emissions come from food waste, that is food that’s produced but not eaten. The gas that rotting food produces is called methane (the same as cows produce) and it is 28x stronger than carbon dioxide.

Therefore we can easily connect food waste and climate change. In fact, 10% of emissions are more than emissions from flying (1.9%), plastic production (3.8%), and oil extraction (3.8%) combined.


photographer Edward Howel, Unsplash

Ph: Edward Howel


The biggest problem might be fruits and vegetablesĀ  – about half of them are wasted. But it’s not just fresh produce, it’s meat, dairy, grains, legumes, and everything else, too. Throwing away one single burger means throwing away the amount of water that you’d use while taking a 90-minute shower.

Let’s finish these food waste facts with good news: reducing food waste is the 3rd most effective way to address climate change.

I’m already feeling empowered to change something, do you?

Facts in this section were sourced at ozharvest.orgĀ 


Food waste solutions

Solutions to food waste are many and we as individuals and consumers have a big part in it. We can’t do much about food loss, because that is out of our hands. But we can do a lot about food waste.

1. The biggest thing we can do to reduce food waste is simply not producing any. We’re not talking about biowaste, the parts of food we cannot eat (like avocado skin, banana skin, pits and stones from fruits, etc.) – we’re talking about wasting perfectly good food like leftover rice, potatoes, stew, etc.

2. What helps a lot is planning ahead. It might seem like a lot of work, but it truly isn’t. Make a weekly meal plan and a shopping list – it will help you waste less money, less time, and less food! Going to the store every day, thinking about what to buy, eventually buying too much food, and in the end not having all the right ingredients is exhausting. Instead of spending 1-2 hours daily on these tasks (which is 6-12 hours weekly) you can make a plan and spend 2-3 hours weekly.


photographer Tara Clark, Unsplash

Ph: Tara Clark


3. Another food waste solution is the proper storing of food. Storing fresh produce so that it lasts could be a game-changer. Additionally, you can use up fresh produce that is about to go bad by drying it (to make dried fruits, herbs, and spices), fermenting it (and making sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. that’s also amazing for your gut), freezing it (fresh or slightly cooked). You can make sauces and jams or even pickled stuff.

4. Take care of the leftovers. A big part of reducing food waste is what you do with leftover food. When making sauce for pasta, put it in an airtight container and freeze it. I say ‘freeze it’ because simply putting it into the fridge might not make you use it later. Frozen foods like sauces and stews might also come in handy when you’re short on time.


Let us make it easy for you

Because of all the food waste facts and simple no-food-waste solutions, my friend Lea from Scent of Canela and I created a free e-book to help you out.


no food waste e-book with little kitchen vibes and scent of canela


If reducing food waste sounds complicated to you, we’re here to make solving this problem easier.

In our free e-book No Food To Waste we’re giving you 14 recipes that all use up leftovers. 7 recipes are vegan and 7 are non-vegan (because Lea is not vegan herself). You’ll be able to elevate your leftovers like rice, pasta, potatoes, chickpeas, tofu, chicken, and eggs to delicious new dishes.

The e-book does not only include recipes, but we took it a step further. We included meal planning and shopping list templates to make planning and executing weekly shopping easier for you.


meal plan template to help reduce food waste

meal planning template


But we didn’t stop there. We also included tips for storing food properly so your food doesn’t go to waste.

We understand that looking into the future can feel daunting. This book is here to empower you with knowledge so that you can proactively live in a way that’s helping our planet and not hurting it. Fill up the box below to get the free e-book No Food To Waste straight to your inbox.


Our future is our choice

Food waste is a problem the whole world is facing. There are many ways in which we’re destroying our planet and food waste is one of the biggest ones.

Luckily we all can make a change in how we live our lives. Reducing food waste can become an integral part of our sustainable lifestyle with which we help protect the Earth from destruction. We don’t have to be perfect, it’s enough to do a little bit at a time. Small changes become big with time and repetition.

Using up leftovers, only buying as much food as we need, planning ahead, and making shopping lists are all steps we can take today to start changing the world for the better.

What will your next trip to the grocery store look like? What can you do today to reduce food waste in your home?




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