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  • Writer's pictureRamesh Chaurasia

Effective ways to tackle the growing food waste


Effective ways to tackle the growing food waste

Food waste is one of the gravest challenges being faced by the world. But unlike others like global warming, people aren’t aware of the gravity of this issue. Almost one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is never eaten, and the value of this wasted food is worth over $1 trillion. It is imperative to note that, this happens as 800 million people go to bed hungry every night

Food waste adds to many economic, societal, and environmental concerns. Rising food waste directly promotes global warming owing to disposal in landfills which produces harmful greenhouse gases.

The world population is estimated to touch 9.8 billion by 2050 and food produced globally would struggle to keep up with the demand, and simultaneously, food waste is going to rise. Even today, while some sections of society find it difficult to satisfy their hunger and are not able to manage a single roti per day, some people waste enormous quantities of food, especially at parties and restaurants.

Hence, it’s of vital importance to reflect upon the possible solutions to this challenge. Well planned, innovative, and sustainable methods are required to manage and recycle food waste.

1. Smart Shopping

The first and foremost step towards eradicating food waste is to avoid it at the household level. The goal should be a zero-waste kitchen. Planning your meals in advance and buying only what you need i.e. smart shopping is the key. Stocking up unnecessary quantities of food items is what needs to be avoided. Small steps such as maintaining a shopping list, checking your refrigerator before going shopping, and having a clear idea of the quantities to be bought make great progress.

2. Post-Shopping assorting of food items

As soon as you get back home, you should categorize the items on the basis of the type of goods and prepare them for later. It would be good to prepare perishable goods soon after shopping. Plan the items to be consumed in the coming week based on their perishability. This would save time and money.

3. Storing food correctly

How and where you store food has a lot to do with it becoming unusable. It’s important to understand how to store food. Storing veggies and fruits in the refrigerator, washing and cutting some of them prior to that, choosing the right containers, sealed packing, and moving older items to the front are some of the storage tips that can be followed by everyone. You need to be aware of the items that shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator. For instance, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, and onions should never be refrigerated. These items should be kept at room temperature.

4. Saving and using the leftovers

Excess food can always be saved but it’s also important to use it up. On weekends, you can use the items stored in your refrigerator and avoid throwing them away.

5. Preserving food

Food preservation techniques like fermenting and pickling have been used for thousands of years and are great ways to reduce food waste. These techniques make food last longer. For example, pickling excess lemon from the fridge can be a good way to avoid wasting them and saving them for later.

6. Adopting a sustainable diet

Shifting to a healthy lifestyle and having a sustainable diet can automatically reduce food waste. Having a nutritious diet ensures that you’ve planned your meals and shop accordingly.

7. Composting leftovers

Instead of throwing away your waste food, composting can help give nutrients back to the soil and reduce your carbon footprint. While not everyone has room for an outdoor composting system, there’s a wide range of countertop composting systems that make this practice easy and accessible for everyone, even those with limited space.

8. Donating Surplus food

This is an area that restaurants and supermarkets need to make an improvement in because donating unsold goods can significantly reduce the amount of waste. In India, for instance, the food wastage coming out of weddings and other functions is tremendous. No one cares to donate them to the needy. What can be a better way to tackle food wastage?

9. Importance of Education and awareness

Dealing with the problem of food waste comes down to education. Understanding food labeling, the perishability of different food items, and the right storage and usage techniques is key to avoiding food wastage. Improving education and awareness for food waste will indeed bring the issue to everyone’s attention. Once the problem has been acknowledged both on a global and household level, only then will the right and effective approach towards solving this begin.

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