Did you know that wasted food has a negative
impact on our environment?

Think about how much food you throw away.


Food left over on your plate; too much food prepared and not used; food past its sell-by date; food past its use-by date; food gone off. These all generally land up in the dustbin!

Many of us don't give a thought to the quantity of food we waste daily, weekly monthly and yearly. We may think about it for a moment when we're scraping the leftovers off the plate, or when we dump some vrot fruit in the bin. But it's become so "normal" to throw food away that we just don't give it any real thought, and we don't think how the quantities add up over the year. (We absolutely acknowledge that there are feeding schemes where not a drop of food is wasted!).

Half of the food thrown away needn't go to waste. With some basic management in the food buying process and the food preparation you could have saved a substantial amount of money! Read on and we'll explain further.

(As you know only too well food is so expensive that food thrown away is like throwing money in the dustbin. And we would never choose to actually throw money in the bin!)








We tend to not appreciate that greenhouse gas emissions are generated from the growing, transport, processing and storage of food before purchase and that, if food is thrown away, all this effort - and environmental impact - goes to waste too.

In addition to money being wasted, discarded food has a negative impact on our environment as it contributes to
global warming. This is because the bulk of wasted food ends up in landfills, and rotting food in landfills produces methane gas - one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
(When we throw away food we also don't take into account the greenhouse gas emissions that are generated throughout the food supply chain (when the food was produced, processed, transported and stored) before we even buy it.)

The food packaging of many food products is excessive. There is a growing awareness that the packaging is environmentally unfriendly because it is non-biodegradable and  invariably just gets thrown away and lands up on our landfills (or on our streets as litter). The good news is that people are becoming aware of the importance and ease of
recycling.

We don't perceive organic waste or biodegradable food waste to be in problem in the waste stream. But as we have highlighted wasted food has a negative environmental impact.


Take note of what food you throw away:

  Scraps from food preparation - peelings, off-cuts, teabags

  Left on the plate

  From the fridge

  From the cupboard (past use by date)

  Yoghurt

  Milk

  Tins

  Raw Meat/Chicken/Fish

  Cooked Meat/Chicken/Fish

  Fruit

  Vegetables

  Salad ingredients (especially lettuce, cucumber and tomato)

  Oil

  Bread

  Cakes

  Biscuits

  Ready- made meals

  Convenience foods

  Eggs


Reasons we throw away food

  We buy more food than we need.

      We are often tempted by special offers e.g 6 for R10 when we only
        need 4
      Retail promotions, presented as money-savings offering larger sizes,
        extra product, or new offerings influence impulse buying which make
        us think we are being less wasteful. (But very often we don't use the
        "extra" and it goes to waste.)
      We buy more fresh or perishable foods (often as the result of trying to
        eat more healthily - but it doesn't get eaten)
      We don't shop with a list of what we actually need.
      We choose food impulsively when at the shops and not according to
        plan
      We get a craving for something when shopping, and the planned food
        is not used.
      Parents are badgered into unplanned and extra purchases by children.

  We prepare more than we need.

  We dish up more than we can eat.

      Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs.
      Our taste buds shout louder than our stomachs can handle.
      We're greedy.
      We pile our plates with too much food and don't eat it all.
      We're worried there won't be enough food 

  We don't like what's been prepared for a meal

  We don't plan our meals in advance and we shop without a list.

  We set our fridges too cold so that fruit and vegetables freeze.

  We don't have refrigeration, so can't keep food.

  We leave food in the freezer for too long so that it gets freezer burn and
    spoils.

  We throw away food because it has passed its 'use by' date - even if it's
    still fine

  We throw away food if it's on or past its 'best before date' - even if it
    looks and smells fine.

  We don't really understand the difference between the 'use by' and 'best
    before' labelling.

  We aren't prepared to eat leftovers.

  We cook separate meals for adults and children.

  We cook separate meals for different members of the family/home.

  We change our minds about what we feel like eating.

  We change our social arrangements which affects a planned meal time.

  We don't believe we know how to create meals with ingredients in our
    fridge and cupboards without following a recipe.

  We don't think about creating new meals using leftovers.

  We don't have enough storage space to keep products beyond a certain
    time period.

      We have poor food storage management- we don't eat food in date
        order of purchasing.

  We don't have time to plan meals so we buy pre-prepared meals.
    Sometimes one portion's not enough but two portions are too much so
    the balance gets turfed.

  We don't understand the 'use by' and 'best before'.

 
 
 
 
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Wasted food is not only a waste of money, it's also not good for the environment.
 
Did you know that tea bags can be used in your garden for compost? Dig them into your flower beds
Did you know that families with children tend to be bigger wasters of food?
People waste food across socio-economic borders. The good news is that this is one exercise that people can actually do something about.









Solutions


A lack of planning by or for home cooks often leads to a waste of food. Here are some tips to help you waste less food

  Food management begins at home - before we even do the shopping.

  Check what stockpiled ingredients you have - whether tinned, frozen or
    fresh. Use them before purchasing more so that they don't expire or
    spoil.

  Plan menus according to what you have in stock as well as what's in
    season and available.

  Create a shopping list for what you need.

  Stick to your shopping list when shopping.

  Although some people are aware of date labels when they shop - taking
    food from the back of the shelf, as this tends to be the freshest - we
    generally don't follow the same principle at home.

  Stack the food in your fridge and cupboards with the newly purchased at
    the back and use your existing stocks first. This process ensures that
    products won't get "lost" at the back of the cupboard.

  By moving your food around it also serves as a reminder of what stock
   is in your fridge/freezer/cupboards.

  Reducing consumption is better than reusing.

  Reusing is better than recycling or composting.

  Reducing, re-using, recycling and composting are better than disposing
    of our food waste.

  Making better use of leftover items, creating menus with existing food
    items, and making less food is first prize when it comes to reducing food
    waste.

  Home composting is also a great way to make use of peelings and other
    compostable food waste. See our page on composting.

  Recycling compostable food waste into compost is a more cost effective
    method of waste management. From an environmental perspective,
    home composting does not generate the amount of methane produced
    by landfills.

  The 'use by' label generally applies to fresh meat and fish, dairy products,
    and fruit and vegetables that will either go off or rot.

  The 'best before' date is a guide relating to foods with a longer shelf life
    (that are low risk). Food quality may depreciate after the 'best before'
    date has passed, but there are not likely to be health issues.

  Reseal packing properly to protect the food. Use resealable bags, zip lock
    bags, or clips to close the bags properly,

  It is suggested that you once you've sealed the packets you put it in a
    container, so that you create a barrier from the outside atmosphere.
    (Reuse containers that food comes in e.g ice-cream containers etc)

  Buying food in the right portion sizes can assist in reducing food waste in
    the home.

  When buying larger packets of meat, separate it into correction portion
    size before freezing so that you don't have to thaw the whole packet and
    only the amount you need at the time you need it.

  Self-selection or self-dispensing is an option that allows consumers to
    buy only the amount they need - reducing the potential for waste. It also
    reduces the amount of packaging wasted. Reuse your plastic bags - next
    time you buy tomatoes use the same plastic bag.

Don't throw away good food

Feed someone else. Give your good food to beggars on the street. (Use a biodegradable container - like a paper plate, paper towel or serviette. Although it's not ideal it's better than a plastic container or bag that may be left as litter.)

Don't let your leftover meal at a restaurant go to waste. Give it to someone who will benefit from it. (Ask the person you give it to to be sure to put the container in the bin when they've finished).
 
Don't make a whole pot of jungle oats or mielie pap. Only make as much as you need!
Buy local products. Transport is a major factor in carbon emissions. The shorter the journey for the product, the less the environmental impact.
Share your recipes.
Have you made a new meal with leftovers or created a meal with what's in the fridge/cupboard?
Submit your ideas and we'll post them on line.


Click Here

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