Monday, July 7, 2008

What a waste: The food we throw away

Avoid throwing away good food and help preserve the environment and save money in the process.

What a disturbing irony! Good, edible food thrown away while the world accelerates towards a food crisis of massive proportions.
India recently halted the export of non-basmati rice to ensure its poor can eat. Meanwhile, every month residents in the city of Toronto, Canada, toss out 17.5 million kilograms of food. Images of green bins overflowing with wasted food stand in stark contrast to media images of riots and hunger around the world.

Food waste is pervasive in western society. A recent British study determined that about one-third of food purchased in the UK is thrown out every year. This equates to about CDN$19.5 billion. In Toronto, the picture is not all that different: single-family households produce an average of 275 kilograms of food waste each year. Twenty-five per cent of this food goes unnecessarily into the garbage—as opposed to the green bin—where city taxpayers pay nearly $10 million a year for its disposal. Most of it is still edible and much of it is still in its original packaging.

Serious Implications
Food waste has serious implications for society. Consumers unnecessarily spend a lot of time and money on food they don't eat. Rotting food also pumps heaps of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Plus the costs for collecting, transporting and landfilling the excess food come from the taxpayers. The good news is that some simple lifestyle adjustments offer huge payoffs for your family, community and the planet.

Think before you shop
A UK waste program reports that 61 per cent of all food waste could have been eaten if consumers better planned and stored their food purchases. Check the refrigerator before you shop. Freeze what you don't plan to eat. And don't just plan your shopping list, but assess your eating habits and plan when you'll have time to prepare the food you're buying.

Mmm leftovers
Much excess food becomes trash eventually. Once discarded, the valuable resources used to produce the food, including your time, are wasted. Leftovers can be as appealing as a freshly cooked, hot meal.

To make leftover food delicious and useful:
safely store food to keep it fresh and safe,
prepare leftovers properly—a microwave is quick, but traditional heating can help maintain the taste, freeze leftovers for later use, and; think outside the plate! Combine leftovers with other food items for a unique meal.

Don't scrap your scraps
If you have an excess of edible, perishable food, look for organizations like Second Harvest, that redistribute food to those in need, including hospices and school lunch programs. As well, livestock farmers and zoos use leftovers to feed the animals. Call your local zoo or farmer's association to find out if this is an option in your area.

Start a compost pile
Not all towns and cities have organic collection programs. To keep food from rotting uselessly in a landfill, begin a compost pile in your backyard. Go online for tips on composting and with a little research and work, you'll see that your pile will benefit the soil and make your garden more plentiful.

Source: Yahoo


Lara Michelle Dias said...

I always feel bad about wasting food but more so now because of the massive food shortages around the world. I now buy less and put as much as I can in the green bin.

Karinna B. said...

Me too! That is why when we shop, we only buy the things we really need. I feel bad for less fortunate people around the world.
When I have more money, I will definitely create an organization that will help them.

You and I should team up! Have a star studded parties to raise funds! That would be fab! Helping is fabulous!!!