New research shows that reducing food waste helps fight climate change. So now you can do your bit and save money in the process!
Did you know that one third of global food production never finds its way onto our plates?
A team from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) – a Climate-KIC partner – has calculated the associated emissions from “food loss.” For the first time, they’ve created food waste projections for countries around the world.
“Reducing food waste can contribute to fighting hunger, but to some extent also prevent climate impacts like more intense weather extremes and sea-level rise,” says lead author of the research, Ceren Hic.
Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, and accounted for over 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. So if you could avoid wasting food, you could avoid these unnecessary greenhouse-gas emissions and help mitigate climate change.
Here are nine tips you can implement at home to help tackle climate change.
1. Shop Smart
This is one of the most important things you can do to cut waste: don’t buy too much food or food you don’t need.
If you plan your meals before you go shopping, you can avoid unnecessary or impulse purchases. Check recipes when writing your shopping list: if a recipe needs two potatoes then opt for loose produce rather than buying a whole bag (unless you’re planning on using them for something else too!).
2. ‘Ugly’ Fruit
Lots of fruit and vegetables don’t make it to the supermarket because they are misshapen – even though they are often perfectly edible.
This is a huge waste of food, but supermarkets are finally realising this is an issue and some are now trialing ‘ugly fruit and veg’ products which are often much cheaper than their ‘prettier’ competition.
Find out if any supermarkets near you offer these deals and save the ugly produce from being thrown away!
If you’re interested in doing this on a commercial scale, check out the Food Surplus Entrepreneurs Network.
3. Use “FIFO”
FIFO stands for First In, First Out.
Make sure when you’re unpacking your groceries to put the older products to the front and newer ones to the back. This way you’ll make sure to use up the older stuff first, before it expires.
4. Keep Track of What You Chuck
By keeping track of what you’re throwing away each week, you can better plan your food shops.
For example if you’re chucking half a loaf of bread and a litre of milk every week then maybe you need to buy less milk. And you could freeze some bread when you buy it so it doesn’t go bad before you have a chance to use it.
5. Eat Leftovers
This tip will save you money as well as food waste.
When you’ve made too much food, portion it out and have it for lunch or dinner the next day. If you don’t fancy the the same meal again tomorrow, you can always freeze it for another week.
6. Use Technology
Technology can be a great tool for helping cut back on waste. There’s a ton of apps out there like Hand Pick which lets you plan recipes around ingredients you already have. LoveFoodHateWaste has an app that helps you keep track of food planning, shopping, cooking meals and making the most of leftovers.
Design By Sol, a Climate-KIC start-up, is currently working on a innovative food freshness checker called Bump Mark that reacts to the environment around it – just like fresh food does – and lets you know when food goes bad.
7. Get Creative With Scraps
Make use of vegetable scraps and make some stocks, stews or soups.
Check out this great list from The Kitchn for ways you can use up old scraps including candied fruit, pesto and salads!
If you have a garden or allotment you could even make use of a compost bin.
8. Store Food in The Right Places
How do you store products in your fridge? If you’re just putting them in anywhere they fit then you may be putting them at risk of going bad quicker!
Food Republic have a really helpful infographic that shows you exactly where to store your food, based on the science of how refrigerators are built.
9. Use Your Senses
Expiration and sell-by dates can sometimes be misleading and incorrect. If you store your food correctly, then it’s best to trust your senses instead of the dates printed on the packaging.
There are also other tests you can do to check if food is still okay. The eggs in water test shows if an egg is good or bad depending on whether it sinks or floats (if it sinks it’s good!).
Did any of this inspire you to start a business? Find out how Climate-KIC could help you get started!