As we say in our Healthy Earth coloring workbook for kids: Avoiding wastage of food, will do the planet plenty of good!
Can you believe that the food that is thrown away every year in the US only weighs the equivalent of over 450 000 Statue of Liberties? That’s a very heavy waste that emits a lot of environmentally unfriendly gases into the atmosphere.
That's about $408 billion worth of food, grown on 18 percent of U.S. farmland with 4 trillion tons of water. The carbon footprint of U.S. food waste is greater than that of the airline industry. Globally, wasted food accounts for about 8 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. When transported to landfills, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 40 years for food to decompose. While rotting, food releases a damaging greenhouse gas called methane.
We are sharing all these details and statistics not to scare you, but to convince you that you need to rethink your relationship with food. The good news is that there are plenty of ways we can change our interactions with food. Food waste can be avoided!
First, take a look at what you have at home in your pantry and kitchen drawers, and then start the useful practice of shopping with a pre-planned list of groceries and buying only as much as you need. Learning about expiration dates, storing different foods correctly, and getting creative when taking care of leftovers, are the next helpful steps that you can embrace in your everyday life.
We like lists a lot, so here is our action plan list dedicated to being more conscious about food:
Plan your meals and grocery shopping in advance
Notice what goes to the bin
Buy only as much as you need, unless it’s a long-lasting ingredient that you can have in bulk for less money, e.g. sugar, salt, rice, quinoa, beans, etc.
Learn to store food in the right way
Get creative about your leftovers
Get educated about composting – it’s taking care of the future
Keep your fridge clean, so there’s no room for bacteria and mold to grow and mess with your food
Avoid keeping fresh produce near home appliances that emit heat – ovens, stoves, toasters,
Buy the single bananas left at the market or the store otherwise, they will be thrown away. You can prepare banana bread with them! Saving the planet with one banana bread at a time - that's helpful and yum;
Threat your fruit and veggies with extra care at home;
Keep your potatoes, onions, and garlic in dark, dry places;
Mushrooms and kale stay fresher for longer when kept in a paper bag;
Grapes, berries, and citrus better be kept in the fridge;
Avocados, apples, melons, mangoes, pears, and tomatoes will continue to ripen when left on the kitchen counter, so you can buy them when they are still not ready to use but cheaper and give them time and space to get ready for a delicious meal;
Half an avocado can be better stored with the pit in or with a little squiz of lemon juice on the inside;
When eating ice cream – pick one in a paper container, in a waffle cone, or eat it served in a glass bowl;
Buy eggs in paper cartons and check out or book for ideas on what to do with them!