One third of food produced worldwide is wasted, and 40% of that is lost by the consumer. You can easily reduce your own food waste by not buying more than you can eat (otherwise it will go bad and you will have to throw it away), not cooking more than you can eat (or you can save the leftovers), and cleaning your plate. You can also send unwanted canned and boxed food to food drives.
Another problem I see in terms of wasted food is at restaurants. Sometimes they serve more than it is possible for one person to ingest, and certain entrees are not necessarily easy to take home. One thing you can do is ask for a lunch-sized portion of food instead of a dinner-sized portion. You can also encourage restaurants where you see the excessive presentation of food to consider reducing their portion sizes so that they can reduce their food waste.
In terms of pragmatic, individual-based solutions, a lot of it pertains to how consumers view their food needs. When shopping for groceries, it’s best not to go on an empty stomach, as well as going more frequently to purchase smaller amounts. Additionally, setting a budget and ensuring that you’ll eat everything you purchase lessens the potential for wasting food without realizing it; the article I’m citing states to use your freezer, so even if you end up with too much food, there’s no reason it needs to be disposed of if not consumed immediately.
Composting is one way to take your organic food waste and put it to good use. To compost, you can start a bin or pile where you collect organic food waste, clippings from your yard, etc., where it can decompose into really rich, ideal soil, which can then be used for a garden to help grow your own food, which in turn will help you cut down your food waste by eliminating packaging, etc.
According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food waste are responsible for 26% US municipal solid waste, so composting is a great way to help reduce that.
Less consumption will always equal less waste. Going out to eat usually creates waste, as krich11 points out, so avoid eating out as much as possible. If you must go out to eat, either order a small plate, share a plate, or take the what’s left home. Leftovers are usually just as good the next day, but plan to eat it the next day and stick to the plan.
Also, as a culture, if Americans start to practice more gratitude for the abundance of food that we have available to us, it seems like we would be more respectful of the food and make a conscious decision to not waste it.
Reducing food waste is a responsibility on the individual consumer. No one is going to stop anyone from wasting food except the one who will put that food into his or her mouth.
Organize your refrigerator so that food doesn’t get buried and rot away while being completely unused. By keeping track of what you already have, you also minimize your chances of purchasing something that you still have in your fridge.
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