Time’s Up with abusing Mother Earth! It’s time to get environmental and think about zero food waste!
The planet needs our help, and we need to contribute in every, and in any, way we can. Focus on the environment and sustainability has been trending as awareness and concern grow across the nation. Today’s “throw-away society” is having a negative impact on our environment and space for garbage is running low. One of the ways consumers have started to make a difference is by minimizing food waste. Food waste consists of edible food that is uneaten or thrown away. This includes food that is thrown away before best-before dates, but still okay to eat. Food waste comes in many forms and is a huge global issue.
How Can We Help?
We can start by changing our approach to buying. It’s time to move back to the basics and buy what you need, only when you need it. Make the most of the ingredients you have by thinking outside the box and how can you use up those ingredients already in your pantry.
Start planning your meals, as meal plans create less waste. Make a list before you go to the grocery store and only shop off the list; this will eliminate impulse buys. Limit the amount of meat you buy in a week as meat uses more resources to produce and is more harmful to the environment. Step away from buying packaged products, buy in bulk, and bring your own containers to the store and wherever you go. Buy ugly produce that can be used in soups, stews, purees, muffins, smoothies, etc. Buy products local and in-season, and make sure to check the best-before dates. Say no to plastic bags, and bring your own reusable bag for grocery shopping.
Start composting if you already don’t. Composting is a great way to use up food scraps and turn them into nourishment for your soil. Also, consider growing your own garden and herbs, and learn how to preserve the produce that is in excess. Food scraps are great for making soup broth.
In the kitchen, prepare fresh produce ahead of time so you are more likely to eat it. You can prepare produce to freeze to use throughout the year in soups, smoothies, etc. Batch cook and freeze meals. Keep a minimalist kitchen. It’s okay to not keep the fridge over-packed with food. Think of practicing food habits like our grandparents did: every part of the food item was used. There are many zero waste recipes are available online or in cookbooks for ideas. Have fun and get creative in the kitchen! For food storage, make sure to store properly and keep note of what is in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Re-use glass jars to store dry goods, leftovers, etc.
BYO (Bring Your Own)
For going out to eat, bring your own cups, reusable straws, utensils, and containers. Support local businesses that are helping zero food waste. There are many low-food-waste stores popping up. You may find some restaurants and cafes that encourage bringing your own cups and offer discounts for doing so. Re-purpose your leftovers to prevent those from being wasted.
Zero Food Waste Ideas
Have fun with your food waste! Here are some creative ideas:
- Make herb infused oils
- Freeze veggie scraps until needed to make broth
- Reuse your almond milk pulp in smoothies
- Use the tops and stems of vegetables
- Preserve foods by fermenting, dehydrating, pickling, or canning
- Use up ingredients to make pesto, or sauté greens as a side dish
- Zest citrus fruits and freeze zest
- Buy fresh ginger and use when needed
- Roast seeds as a snack (pumpkin, squash, )
- Make your own nut and seed butters when needed
- Grind your nuts, grains into flour when needed
- Make your own salad dressing with ingredients you have
- Make your own condiments
- Make your own bread, muffins, cookies
- Make your own snacks like granola, granola bars, and trail mix