Food waste may not be the first thing you think about when you wake up, but it is a massive and growing problem. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the average Canadian wastes 79 kilograms of household food every year. They also calculated estimates that suggest 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food waste.
Cutting down your food waste is important because it positively impacts the environment and your wallet. There are many ways that food becomes waste, such as accidentally burning it while cooking, or forgetting it was in the refrigerator to begin with. Sometimes, we are all guilty of biting off more than we can chew. However, many of these situations are preventable with a bit of effort on your part.
Continue reading for 3 tips to help you cut down on food waste:
Storage Is Key
When it comes to storage, many of us think we are packaging experts. However, nothing is worse than going to eat some leftovers just to realize they were stored improperly. It’s always a good idea to have a variety of Tupperware or similar food storage containers to safely secure your food in an environmentally-friendly way. One great tip for proper food storage is always labeling the date you stored it on. This ensures you know how long it has been in your fridge so you can judge a little better than, “I think I cooked this on Saturday?” Make sure all lids and containers are sealed tightly for maximum freshness!
To preserve your family meals even longer, you can throw them in the freezer after a few days of storage in your fridge. This ensures microbes and microorganisms, the cause of food spoilage, are put into a dormant state where they cannot turn your food to waste.
Planning Goes A Long Way
We can all have trouble sticking to plans at times, but there are a few tips we have to help you out. If you tend to be one of these people, or simply just forget, create a meal calendar for your reference. You can use your phone calendar, or if you prefer, you can get a whiteboard calendar for your fridge to keep everything in the same area. A calendar can be a great tool for making a weekly menu. This helps you think ahead so you only purchase what you’ll actually eat.
On top of utilizing a calendar, you can make a list for when you go to the store. You can still get those oh-so-needed impulses that aren’t on your list, but this is great to make sure you aren’t purchasing more than you need or can consume. We also recommend taking a ‘shelfie’. This makes it easier to figure out what is inside your fridge or pantries when at the store, so you don’t have to worry about overstocking.
If you struggle with overstocking on meats or vegetables, make them into a broth! You can also do this with extra food scraps after a meal, you’ll just have to freeze them until you get enough to make a broth or stock. If you’re not a fan of soup you can adopt the FIFO method or ‘First In First Out.’ The essence of this method is to use the oldest items before you use the most recent purchases so your ingredients don’t spoil in your fridge.
Worst case scenario — your food does spoil. Don’t go straight for the trash can! Composting can be a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. All you’ll need is green materials, brown materials, a bin of some kind, and water. Green materials are things like fallen leaves, newspaper, or wood shavings; anything that adds carbon. Your food scraps will be the brown materials, but you can also add in coffee grounds and grass trimmings. You’ll want to water your compost regularly, and mix it about once a week. For a more in depth tutorial take a look here.
Shop For A Lunch Bag at Funkins
An adorable and stylish bag to carry your food into the great outdoors can be precisely what you need to keep your food at the right temperature to prevent it from spoiling. Funkins bags are ultra-durable and spacious so that you can fit your kiddo’s entire lunch inside with ease. We also offer napkins, placemats, ice packs, and bamboo dish sets for a cleaner, greener lunchtime. Shop our whole collection here!