Each year Australians throw away millions of dollars worth of edible food. In fact, up to 20 percent of all the food we buy will be discarded. Now imagine how much money is each household wasting that way. But unfortunately the ramification of food waste go far beyond the financial loss.
Yes, I’m talking about the environment. When food and other organic materials rot in landfills they produce a greenhouse gas called methane. Methane is even more harmful than carbon dioxide because it is 25 times more potent than CO2. So as it turns out, by throwing away food we are actually exacerbating the effects of global warming. But there’s more. Most people neglect to consider the hidden impact of food waste. In other words, wasting food means you’re wasting other resources, such as water, energy and fuel which have been used for the production and transportation.
Why Do We Waste That Much Food?
There are a lot of reasons that contribute to the problem of food loss. To begin with, we all cook too much. And it wouldn’t be a problem if we used the leftovers properly, but often times we don’t. It’s also a common thing for us to mistakenly throw away food before it has gone bad because we don’t read the labels carefully enough. We also love buying takeovers instead of cooking what we already have at home. Not making a shopping list and buying food without first checking what’s in the fridge is another reason that contributes to the problem. Last but not least, we tend to do our shopping when we’re hungry, which makes us buy more food, food that will be at some point thrown out.
What Can We Do?
The holiday season is the time when consumption skyrockets. On Christmas and New Year’s Eve we eat and drink more and quite expectedly, we throw out a lot more food. So if you really want to make a change, take part in the National Leftover Day. Launched in 2009, the National Leftovers Day is marked on Boxing Day and encourages us to reduce food waste by reusing our leftovers. So to celebrate NLD this Christmas you can follow these useful tips:
1. Spend more time planning the Christmas meals and the portions you’ll be serving so that you reduce your food waste. Also, make sure you cook something up with the leftovers.
2. Storage is important, so create the habit to storing your leftovers in plastic, airtight containers. That way you will preserve them for longer.
3. A smart thing to do is to frost your leftovers in smaller portions so that you defrost only what you intend to eat. Freezing, defrosting and freezing your food again is not healthy for you, so you’ll be forced to throw it out.
4. To make sure your food makes as smaller an environmental impact as possible, shop for seasonal foods.
5. Label you food containers. Write the date you froze your leftovers, the date you cooked them and how many servings are in there. This will make things a whole lot easier for you.