When people start looking into how to live a zero waste lifestyle – reducing plastic waste is often the first thing they think about. But you might overlook another type of waste that can pose a huge problem for people and the planet: food waste.
Food waste, if it were a country, would be the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world. In spite of global hunger and malnourishment, vast quantities of edible food are thrown away each year. There are nearly one billion hungry people in our world, and all of those people could be fed on less than a quarter of the food waste from the US, UK and Europe.
Food is wasted all along supply chains. But household food waste is a big part of the problem. What happens with food waste which is sorted for recycling or collected from your kerb depends on where you live.
It might end up in landfill, or be incinerated. In some areas, it may be composted or digested anaerobically and turned into fertiliser and biogas. But even where this is the case, there are still emissions related with the process (and transportation) to take into account. The best thing, as you are no doubt already. aware, is to compost your own food waste at home.
But the first step should always be to think about how you can reduce waste in the first place. Here are a few tips to reduce food waste in your home:
- Shop with a list to avoid impulse buying or buying too much.
- Make meal plans to food will go further.
- Store leftovers sensibly, and make full use of them.
- Preserve fresh produce using age old techniques.
- Don’t throw away perfectly good parts of vegetables you buy or grow. (Cook and eat beetroot, turnip and carrot greens, for example.)
- Use vegetable scraps (regrow them to make new plants, use them to make stock, vinegars, natural dyes, or in a range of other ways).
These are just a few tips to help you reduce the amount of food waste you generate. When you follow these tips, you should find that there is far less to compost than you may have imagined there would be.