How much food waste does your family churn out every week? How about every day?
The France government will soon enforce a law that bans grocery stores from throwing out unsold fold. Instead, supermarkets will be required to donate the food to charities or turn it into animal feed or compost. The law, a first of its kind in Europe, was passed last December 10, and will take effect early this year. It's very timely that as the climate change agreement was sealed in Paris, the French legislators decided to hit two birds with one stone: to help the environment by reducing waste and feed the hungry.
In his own little way, a Filipino Canadian had a similar idea. Danison Buan worked at a restaurant for years, and he witnessed firsthand how much food is wasted. So, he had an amazing idea to "rescue food" and he calls the project Re-Food. Three times a week, he drops by the local supermarket in his area to pick up still-edible but unsold food that the store would otherwise throw away, and donates them to charities. The supermarket benefits from his project, too, by saving on composting fees.
The United Nations Environment Programme released a report in October 2015 that says about 24 percent of food for humans all over the world are wasted. That is a lot, considering many poor communities in developing countries do not even have access to food.
If you're wondering how you can help prevent this statistic, here are some suggestions:
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1. Make a meal plan. The amount of food you buy depends on the meals you're going to whip up in the kitchen. If you have carefully planned meals, you can do the next one more efficiently.
2. Shop wisely. As much as possible, do not hoard food. Shop smart. Buy only what your family can consume and be mindful of the best-by dates. Buying in bulk is only cost-efficient if you actually eat all of them before you forget that you have them.
3. Storage is key. Regularly revisit the contents of your refrigerator, and your pantry. Know how to properly store meat, dairy, and greens fresh. Practice the first-in, first-out protocol, just like for breast milk.
5. Know your portions. Cooking for a family of four is a whole new ball game if you're cooking for a party of 15. Be aware of how much food your family eats to lessen leftovers. Kids eat a lot less than adults, so don’t forget to factor that in.
6. Re-purpose leftovers. Ideally, leftovers should be consumed within seven days. Do your research and turn leftovers into an entirely different dish.
Sources: December 31, 2015. "France figured out how to make its grocery stores feed even more people." (upworthy.com) December 30, 2015. Fil-Canadian’s Project Makes Use Of Wasted Food. (balitangamerica.tv) February 15, 2015. 11 practical ways you can reduce food waste and save money. (mashable.com) October 2015. "Food Waste: The Facts" (worldfooddayusa.org) Undated. "Ten Steps to Prevent Wasted Food" (makedirtnotwaste.org)