While most people will say they don’t like to see food go to waste, it’s among the greatest waste produced with statistics showing as much as “1 billion tonnes worldwide annually and an average Inner West home generating roughly 2.1 kilograms each week.” Go here for guidance on avoiding food waste.
If food waste were separated from a rubbish bin according to Inner West audits “36 percent of the contents would equate to food waste.”
It’s suggested that if each household were to compost, recycle, or reuse scraps, roughly “200 kilograms of CO2 emissions could be saved annually – capable of powering a house for a week.”
Now that food recycling initiatives are underway in Inner West, apartment residents, and others without garden space for composting have a rubbish solution aside from finding new and creative recipes for their leftovers.
Tips For Eliminating Wasted Food
Inner West residents are taking a stand against food waste with the local council initiating recycling efforts to help those unable to compost.
When food wastes are under control combined with rubbish removal services for all other sorts of waste, see ridlyrubbishremoval.com.au/, the landfill becomes relatively obsolete. And that’s the whole idea.
By following Inner West’s lead in other parts of Australia, throughout the world, perhaps the numbers would decrease with the statistics.
For instance, billions of dollars of edible food are tossed away each year in Australia either because people buy more than they need or make too much at mealtimes and are unsure how to use the leftovers. Here are a few tips on how to make these numbers drop in your neighbourhood.
· Bring a list when market shopping
It’s easier to refrain from buying things you won’t promptly use if you plan out meals before heading to the market. As you go through the pantry and fridge, you can make a list of must-haves for the next few days ensuring to only search for these items once arriving at the store.
Being organized, determined, and keeping a steady pace will prevent second-guessing whether you have items, keep you from buying those you already have, and disallow purchases of things you may not have a use for after getting them home.
One thing to prioritize if you want to avoid shopping impulsively is to have a snack before leaving for the market. Food shopping while hungry is ever a good idea.
· Go to the market more often
Instead of shopping for an entire week at one time, break it down into every couple of days. You can select quality products, including “organic, unprocessed, or fair trade,” instead of being concerned about having a sufficient quantity.
With this method perishables and produce will be used promptly with little chance for spoilage. You won’t need to make large batches to use up vegetables only to toss the leftovers after several days in the fridge. Nor will you need to get rid of an abundance of fruit that has gone overly ripe.
· Cook just enough
While many people are concerned with wasting food, most are also concerned with having too much to eat; they want to avoid putting on the pounds. The best way to prevent that is to make less with each meal. When you reduce portion sizes, there’s less chance for leftovers to build up in the fridge.
It can be challenging to gauge what would be just enough for each person and can take some time to get it right. A guideline to know when you’re full is to have a plate and wait 15 minutes after finishing to see if you’re still hungry.
If you are, head back for more. If you’re still full after that 15 minutes, it was a sufficient portion.
You’ll gradually be able to make less when you figure out how much it takes to get you to the point of being full.
· Adequate food storage is important
How food is stored can make the difference between spoiling and staying fresh. Storing it away adequately can add up to as much as a month or more, depending on the product. Moisture needs to be removed from dry goods. These should be kept in air-tight containers.
When meals are finished, leftovers should be put in the freezer. Research will help you to learn which fruits and vegetables do better when stored in the fridge and which should be stored in a basket outside the fridge to avoid fast spoilage.
Fresh herbs will do well for a few weeks if wrapped in moist paper towels before placing them in the sealed containers. Lettuce and spinach are two vegetables that should have wilted leaves snipped and then put the vegetable in a sealed container or bag.
· Expiration dates need to be adhered to if you know what they mean
Expiration dates should be followed but it’s essential to understand the terms used with these dates. When the label says “use by” or “best before,” you could either be cooking everything out of the fridge unnecessarily or tossing what are actually ideal contents out of the fridge and into the bin.
When uncertain what the end date says to you, do a “smell, look, taste” test. If it passes, it’s likely okay to eat. Items or ingredients with older dates, should be placed in the front of the fridge for sooner use.
For those who shop more often and buy smaller quantities, there will be less likelihood for items to reach their expiration date. Still, it’s wise to become familiar with the “best before” and “use by” definitions as they pertain to the end date for ingredients you might have for an extended time.
· Be creative with your leftovers
“Over a quarter of food waste comes from leftovers.” As suggested, portion control can help with that, but until you get to that point, finding unique ways to use foods left over after a meal is also beneficial.
Vegetables collected in a freezer bag will eventually contribute to a veggie stock while bones from varied meats will create stock for different soups and stews. Countless recipes can be found online with which to be creative.
The first thing to do following a meal is to place the remaining food in the freezer until you have the chance to search for ideas on how to use the contents. Then you’ll wait on inspiration to strike so you can devise a whole new meal plan using the leftovers.
· Herbs don’t have to go to waste
Herbs are a key ingredient in most dishes adding that distinct taste that makes each unique, but they can be costly. Often the batch sold is more than a person can use before the remainder goes limp. Fortunately, herbs are relatively easy to grow with many people setting up simple gardens in their kitchen.
This will allow fresh herbs in just the right amount whenever you need them. A good place to start is with parsley, a common herb used for a lot of recipes as is rosemary, mint, and basil. The savings can be considerable while also reducing the waste significantly.
· Buy the less-than-perfect produce
People will pick over the produce in the baskets at the local market putting the imperfect pieces back in the bin. This leads to massive amounts of food waste within the markets and then among the farms when the stores will only buy perfect produce from the farmers.
The fruits and veggies all taste the same with the same nutritional value regardless of if they’re “pretty.” Still some markets have circumvented the issue by discounting the less-than-perfect produce to make these more favourable for the populace and for many the strategy works.
The only thing you need to do about the “ugly” spots is cut those out and enjoy the remaining good bits.
· Save your seeds when carving your pumpkins
If you enjoy pumpkins over the fall season for pumpkin pies, breads, soups, butters, or even just carving for decoration, it’s important not to let these go to waste by tossing them in the bin. Seeds from pumpkins are nutrient rich and delicious.
They have a high magnesium level, paramount for blood and heart wellness. The best way to have the seeds after plucking them from the pumpkin is to clean and dry them. Toast them in the oven after tossing them with salt and olive oil. You can do the same with other nuts like those from butternut squash.
Pumpkin recipes are prevalent online for use in varied ways whether pumpkin spiced . . . everything; not to mention the diverse dishes you can use it in whether sweet or savoury.
· Use the peels
Most people don’t hydrate enough, some because they’re not fond of the lack of flavours when drinking water. It’s boring. Fortunately, you can save food waste and consume more water by adding some flavour with peels from fruits and vegetables you buy with your weekly meal planning.
You can choose virtually any fruit and vegetables like cucumber to refresh a cup of water. Herbs gone limp or berry tops can be added to water. It’s the suggestion to use the rest after drinking the water to blend with a smoothie, so you achieve zero food waste with your market produce purchase.
Many Inner West rubbish removal specialists have an environmental approach to their waste disposal efforts, helping homeowners rid their households of rubbish by dropping it off at recycling and donation centres before heading to the landfill.
This effort combined with the food recycling initiative in Inner West could see the statistics for waste consumption in the local area and perhaps all of Australia decrease.