Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Munchable Soapbox: What a Waste!

What would you do with an extra $175 per month? I'd probably tuck it away for a grand adventure in the not-so-distant future. Well, according to an article on Grist yesterday, an average American family or four may be throwing away this equivalent in food every month! Over Thanksgiving I mused a bit on food waste and moderation during the holidays. But this article puts into perspective the true extent of our wasteful habits.
Source: Tree Hugger
There have been plenty of numbers thrown around and visual depictions cropping up on the interwebs. Apparently, reducing our waste by even 20% could save enough food to feed 25 million people. More than that, food waste contributes to our already excessive greenhouse gas emissions, as it releases methane (more potent than carbon dioxide) during decomposition in landfills. Even big corporate entities, such as McKinsey and Company, have recognized the importance of reducing food waste.

From where is most of the avoidable waste coming? Why fresh veggies, or course. We are a flighty bunch, scared away by the merest wilt of a leaf, a brown patch, a lost of firmness in a tomato (which is actually a fruit, but oh well). An NRDC fact sheet lays out some ways to reduce your food tossage. But first and foremost, learn to buy what you need and what you will eat. If you are solo, like me, don't buy the jumbo thing of salad greens...unless you eat monsters salads twice a day. Plan ahead - decide what you are going to make for the week and obtain fresh food at least once during that time period, if not twice, purchasing only what you said you need. I find that setting reasonable expectations for my meals and being a bit more relaxed about the pristine, blemish-free ideal for produce has led to much less food spoilage and waste.

And remember, if you can't eat it, compost it!

What are your tricks to cutting back avoidable food waste?

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