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Food Waste

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Given that we are battling a very real food waste problem in our country today, we decided to discuss this issue instead of providing a nutrient-dense recipe.


A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded study revealed earlier this year that American consumers waste almost one pound of food per day, accounting for 225 to 290 pounds per person per year, or almost a third of all food produced.


Those are horrific figures, given that food waste is also listed as a major contributor to municipal landfills, CO2 emissions, and climate change. 


The food waste cost to local US governments is estimated at about $1.5 billion per year. However, “food waste is also a major global issue, and tackling it is a priority,” reported Richard Swannel, director of sustainable food systems at the Waste and Resources Action Program, an anti-waste organization in Britain. 


They report that reducing food waste from 20 to 50 percent globally could potentially save more than $120 billion to $300 billion a year by 2030, as well as dramatically lowering CO2 emissions. 


In Paul Hawkin's best-selling book on drawing down CO2 emissions and reversing climate change, better controlling food waste is listed in the top 10 things out of 100 we can individually do to help draw down CO2 levels.  

 

Like the New York Times writer, we, too, try hard to be mindful of our shopping habits, but we also know how quickly we can fall into old habits when statistics like the ones above are out of sight and out of mind.


Here are a few NYT tips to help prevent food waste and protect the environment:


Shop with a plan, even though busy families and single people's dinner plans frequently change.

 

“Food shopping is the easiest place to start. Start by making a grocery list or devising a meal plan for the week (including leftovers). Menu planning may seem like a lot of work at first, but you'll be working toward reducing the amount of unused (especially perishable) ingredients, with the added benefit of saving money along the way.


Arm yourself with the right tools.

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“Prepare yourself for food shopping: Bring your reusable bags, including containers for bulk items like grains or beans or more fragile ones like delicate berries; consider buying larger quantities when something is on sale and it works for your household, but only if you will take the time to freeze what you will not use in a few days.


“In terms of actual products to help you reduce kitchen waste, consider the following kitchen helpers: a dedicated compost bin, reusable sandwich wrappers, mesh or canvas bags for produce, and larger reusable totes for bigger shopping hauls.


Reuse your water.

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“Be honest: Do you rinse your produce under a running faucet? I own right up to doing just that, more often than not. Seriously consider changing up your vegetable- and fruit-cleaning habits by placing them all in a big bowl in the sink before turning on the tap. You can reuse that water to feed indoor and outdoor plants, or soak dirty dishes."


Another idea that we most always do: “Before throwing pasta in a bubbling pot of water, blanch your dinner vegetables beforehand (snap peas, green beans, and broccoli are especially good contenders), also the nutrient content of pasta cooked in vegetable water is a bit higher."


Eat well and conserve resources.


Ellen Troyer, with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

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Even our beloved Anthony Bourdain had made it clear that he intended to become a general in the fight against food waste. His targets were inefficient home cooks, people who rely solely on restaurant food, those who don't compost, and supermarkets.