Stop Wasting Food, Save The Environment (and Money)
Nature has a limit to the pressures humans apply. Follow the below to not only reduce the disgusting amounts of food waste but also improve your finances.
We throw out 7 million tons of food a year in the UK (Food Standards Agency, June 2016) and 1.3 million tonnes globally (The Economist, 2016).
Financially, this is $750 billion worth of food; an incredible waste of food.
For humanity, considering so many people have nothing, this is a disgusting statistic.
For nature, this is 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases of waste (fuel for tractors, fertilisers and greenhouse gas emissions). This is before we consider the water required to sustain the agricultural industry.
What Can We Do?
Use your freezer;
- A freezer is a pause button on food perishing.
- cook a meal and can't finish it. Freeze it.
- vegetables, fruit, bread or meat that are one day before use by date, and you won't consume them in time? Freeze it.
Check out the FSA report on freezing produce here
- Understand the difference between use by, and best by dates:
- Best by is when the food tastes best until, use by is when the food is no longer safe to eat, and
- If you won't eat it in time for the use by date, freeze it!
- Understand air miles: if it has incurred them significantly (i.e Caribean coconuts in the UK...) it's had a big / bad impact on the environment
- Buy local where possible, and
- Use farmers markets.
Your waistline will benefit. Not sure how to buy less:
- eat less;
- eat slowly; put your knife and fork down instead of inhaling your food,
- use a smaller plate size, and
- don't watch the TV, read a book, play on Instagram while eating.
- use a basket instead of trolley, or make your girlfriend / boyfriend carry it. Their complaining will limit your time in the shops.
- buy smaller portion sizes (or buy frozen in bulk and use your freezer).
Use your store cupboard goods:
I have about three packets of opened rice, pasta or different grains and untold numbers of cans of chickpeas, tomatoes and kidney beans; I need to use them. Lacking inspiration? The ever wonderful BBC Good Website is my go to; they even have a section for store cupboard food.
Go Vegetarian or Vegan
- We have all been told the consequences of the meat and dairy industry on the environment; I'm not going to re-iterate them again. If you don't know them, check them out here. (It's by Peta so obviously there is a bias there, but please educate yourself in some way)
- Go vegetarian / vegan for one meal a month, one day a week, one month a year; whatever you think you can do, do it.
- Don't be the d**k that says, I need meat at every meal; you don't and it's probably destroying your kidneys right now...
This is a financial blog, and here are 5 reasons you will SIGNIFICANTLY SAVE doing the above:
- you'll chuck out less food which means you will need to buy less food
- meat is much cheaper than vegetables (unprocessed meat that is...don't go near processed meat unless you want to turn into a walking chemical and pay medical bills )
- canned foods tends to be cheaper, as is bulk freezer food
- canned foods, and freezer purchases are great "padding foods" i.e make your meal look bigger without the expense (if you can't eat less)
- local produce should be cheaper than food that has travelled miles; (you're not having to pay the airplane and lorry fuel and taxes)
Photo from the beautiful unsplash.com