A recent survey shows that 61% of shoppers are worried about the effects that their shopping habits (especially those of food and grocery) have on the environment. Looking around the grocery store it may not be easy to pinpoint on any food item and the effects it has on the environment. We all look for ways in which we can reduce our household bills but we don’t even consider the effects that food wastage has on our environment and on our pocket.
Production, transportation, cooking and storing food require the use of fuel, energy, and water which emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Many food manufacturing companies today perform what they call a cradle-to-grave analysis for every food item they produce. The purpose of this test is to determine the environmental impact of the product at every stage of production. Right from the plantation of the seed up until the product gets used up and its packaging if any, is recycled.
Take for example a slab of cottage cheese. First the cow has to be raised and fed so that it can produce good quality milk. The milk is then converted into cottage cheese and packed in different packets as per the quantity required by customers. The packets are then transported to the shop from where it is then transported to your house. Keep in mind that cottage cheese does not have a long shelf life and therefore if not used in time it will end up in the bin as there is no way to recycle it. A similar process is conducted for all the products available in the market.
So how can we make a difference? Well, below is a great list to help us reduce the quantity of food we dispose away.
- Plan in advance. Look in your pantry, fridge and freezer then list the things you need, and in what quantity so that you only buy things that you need.
- Use your fruits and vegetables in a productive way. Only because an apple is hollow in one part you do not have to throw away the whole apple. You can use the better half to make some jam, a crumble or even better a smoothie to drink in the morning.
- Store food in a way that will help keep it fresh for a longer period or use best quality food storage container. Vegetables and fruits are best kept in the fridge and if they are half used then its best to wrap them loosely so that they can last longer.
- Cooked food can be frozen and used anytime before the expiry date. Just reheat it.
- Did you know that orange peels make a good facial? Dry the orange peels in the sun and once all the moisture has evaporated make a powder and mix with honey to apply on the face.
- And finally, remember the golden rule that your mother taught you only take as much as you can finish in your plate.