February 27, 2019 6 min read

Food is an essential need for every person. With the growing need for food as the population in the world increases, finding ways to maximize what we have and finding means to make food and the industry that surrounds it more sustainable. Is it really possible to go zero waste when it comes to food?

Buying What You Need And Making The Most Out Of It

Thefood waste in the USA alone amounts to at least one pound of food wasted per person per day. The food that is wasted daily wastes not only the produce or the food product itself but also the energy that goes into the cultivation, production, packaging, and delivery of these food items in grocery stores. A lot of people do not realize how much food they are wasting per day because when you look at things from the micro level, it would seem as if you’re just throwing away a single, unattractive piece of fruit at a time. However, at the macro level, it is an entirely different story.

It is important to remember that when buying food, you should only buy what you need and those that you buy in excess, should be stored properly so that you can use them at a later date. It is also important to remember that all parts of your food can be used in an eco-friendly way so that even your food scraps can do something else for you other than ending up in a landfill. You should also take into account the quality and source of your food so that you can ensure that you are not indirectly adding more carbon footprint from buying food that was not mindfully made, i.e. products that were made with no regard for the environment or are thoroughly covered in plastic even though it isn’t necessary.

Buying only what you need, if you don't know how to properly store food, is one way of reducing food waste

Another important thing to note is that sell-by dates are still a point of contention in the food industry. A lot of people are misled to think that sell-by dates are intended to tell you when the food expires when in reality, it is the marker for when the food may start to lose its quality, its freshness, but not necessarily be poisonous. While it is still important to consider sell-by dates as a benchmark for food quality, being knowledgeable about when food can really be considered as bad is crucial as well in the fight against food wastage.

Use Everything, Waste Nothing

Food is an essential part of human existence because we derive nutrition and energy from them. Food gives us the fuel to accomplish things, to sustain our health, and to feel alive. Eating good food will definitely help in making you feel better, but being conscious about your food wastages should also be something that you consider when planning and ending your meals. There are some things that you can do to make sure that none of the food that you buy goes to waste and ends up rotting on a landfill.

Composting helps reduce food waste

Knowing how to properly store your food avoids spoilage and therefore, food waste

Use A Bokashi Bucketwhenever you cut food, there are certain to be parts of the food that will go to waste bin. Not only that, after eating, there are sure to be bits of food left on your plate - maybe the stem of an eggplant, some chicken bones, or seeds from the fruits that you have just eaten. Using abokashi bucket will allow you to use your food scraps and turn them into compost for your own garden and for growing your own produce. It not only reduces the amount of food that your household contributes to landfills, it also helps you in making food for your own family from your own vegetable patch.

Proper Food Storage when you are able to store food properly, you can extend their shelf life and therefore reduce the waste that you contribute to the landfills that are already starting to reach capacity - if they aren’t already at capacity. Knowing how to properly store food can allow you to buy in bulk without having to worry about whether or not they will spoil or lose much of their quality while still in storage. Investing in a reusable vacuum sealing equipment such asthis can allow you to store food in an air sealed bag that also allows you to see the food that’s inside. [insert infographic on proper food storage times]

Donate Excess Foodone thing that you can do for the excess food you have in your home is to donate them to food banks. You can find your local food bank through thiswebsite and you can donate the food that you have in excess in your homes or those that are left untouched and can still be enjoyed who need food the by those most. For those who own food establishments or many groceries, you can connect with people who work towards connecting those who have food to spare and those who need these food for their feeding programs. Apps such asFood For All,Food Rescue Hero, andFood Flash have created systems that allows people, particularly food businesses, to contact them because of excess food that are in their hands which can then be distributed or resold at a big discount to those who are food insecure.

Planning Your Mealsas easy as it may sound, not a lot of people are able to successfully plan and portion their meals. Planning your meals and portioning them to only the amount of food you need per meal time will allow you to minimize your wastages and will also allow you to know just how much food you really need to store in your house for any given period of time. By preparing in advance and planning a menu for you and your family, you can minimize the wastages that goes into the preparation of your food and also in the purchase of the ingredients needed for the food you want to eat within a certain time frame.

Donating your excess food to food banks helps reduce food insecurity while addressing the food wastage problem at the same time

Preparing your own meal helps you learn how to portion your food

Buying from farmers' markets helps you avoid buying in bulk when you only need a few of pieces of certain food items

Go For Sustainable Products buying food that are sustainably sourced and packaged also helps in reducing food wastage. Buying from companies that employ eco-friendly methods in the production of their food means that they do not produce more than what is needed and therefore, you are not adding to the huge food waste problem that is continuously growing as the days pass by. By buying products from companies and food sources that are mindful of their food production, you can assuredly help in the reduction of the food waste problem. By only buying the necessities and in the right amounts, you can ensure that there will be little to no waste in the food that you buy from your local grocery or farmer’s market.

Is Zero Waste The Way Towards A Sustainable Food Industry?

We have a long way to go when it comes to creating a sustainable food industry. With the growing number of people to feed and the growing demand of people that food companies desire to meet, the inevitability of food wastage is a reality that we are living with and should start doing away with. But having the conscious awareness of the problem is a great step in determining a solution to the problem that we ourselves have created.

Changing how you view food is one way of contributing to the resolution of the food wastage issue

Going zero waste when it comes to our handling of food and when it comes to how we manage our food consumption is just one way of addressing the problem. It will allow us to learn more about the right ways of food preparation and food handling, as well allowing us better insight on how we can maximize the finite resources that we have. Going zero waste with food is a lifestyle shift that is beneficial not just to our personal finances but also to our environment. It is a sustainability project that we have to work for and strive for in order to succeed and see the fruition of all our efforts into making this world healthier and in order to make this world thrive.