Earth Day: 5 things you are not doing to save money, food and the environment

Did you know that 1/3 of the world’s food is wasted? That’s 1.3 billion tonnes of food worldwide (FAO, 2017) and in Canada alone, that’s 31 billion dollars of wasted food each year (‘27 Billion’ Revisited the cost of Canada’s annual food waste, 2014 Report). Waste is not limited to our own household, but also is created by farms, factories, supermarkets, restaurants, workplaces, healthcare and foodservice facilities. Losses don’t stop there but extend to the resources wasted in the process of growing, transporting and disposing food.

Food waste is increasing in vain and as a result of this, greenhouse gas emissions have increased and it contributes to global warming and climate change. Heat is also absorbed into the oceans thus melting glaciers and leads to rising sea levels, more floods and loss of land. We need to actively consider the effect this is having on our environment and future generations.

Let’s do our part for the environment! Here are 5 easy tips to reduce household food waste:

  1. Before you go grocery shopping, scan your kitchen to avoid duplicates – Remind yourself of what is hiding in the back of your fridge, freezer and cupboards. Plan your meals ahead of time and you will be less likely to buy more than you need.
  2. Buying in bulk doesn’t always lead to saving money – Be cautious of your daily meal serving needs to buy accordingly. Alternatively, cook extra food in bulk and freeze for when you don’t feel like cooking.
  3. Avoid large portions on your plate – Know your body’s needs to avoid over or under eating.
  4. Practice giving – Extra vegetables? Make a soup or stew and freeze the rest. Extra fruits? Make a smoothie made with overripe fruit or bake muffins and share with others. Still not sure what you can do with your extras before they go bad – give away extra food to a neighbour, family member, friend or coworker before it spoils.
  5. ‘Best before’ vs ‘expiration’ date – Foods should be eaten before the ‘best before’ date, or alternatively frozen before this date to be eaten later. This date means that it can still be safely eaten after the stated date, although it may not be at its best for freshness, taste or nutritional value so no need to be so quick to throw food away. However, foods that have expired should be discarded.

Change needs to occur at all levels to make sure we can continue producing enough food for our population and to ensure a sustainable future. Each of us can play a role in reducing food waste and making a real difference in the health of our planet.  Share this article with friends and let’s make this the new trend.

I hope I have inspired you to cut down on food waste, which will in turn help the environment and save you money too. For personalized grocery shopping tours to eat healthy while minimizing food waste, contact me at ChristineRezkRD@gmail.com.