Cut down on waste
More than one third of all food produced globally is wasted. Americans throw away up to 40% of the food they buy, and organic matter in landfills is responsible for 20% of all methane emissions – a greenhouse gas that contributes heavily to climate change.
Cutting down on food waste can make a huge difference. Here are some tips.
Only buy the things you need – don’t buy too much food when you go grocery shopping. Make a rigid shopping list and stick to it. Another option is to visit the grocery store only when you need to – taking more frequent trips, but buying less.
Don’t over-serve food
When serving food for yourself and others, don’t over-serve. Many people throw away what they haven’t finished. A good solution is to use smaller plates, or just serve smaller portions only refilling when you need to.
Leftovers aren’t only for Christmas or Thanksgiving! Instead of throwing away uneaten food at the end of a meal, label and place your leftovers in the fridge for another day!
Donate to food banks
If you’re not going to eat excess food, look into donating it to food banks. You can also donate it to farms to feed livestock.
Store food correctly
Storing food accurately insures that it won’t spoil prematurely before you can eat it. Research which foods need to be stored in the fridge, freezer or pantry so they’ll last longer.
The Meals app has a pantry feature which sorts food based on optimal method of storage, so make use of it!
Expiration dates should be treated as guidelines, not strict rules on when a certain item is unsuitable for consumption. They often indicate food quality, not food safety. Trust your sense of smell, sight and taste to recognise whether a food is still good to eat, and don’t just bin it because a label says so!
Both packaging and food waste can be recycled. You should have separate recycling bins for paper, glass and plastic, but you can also recycle food. Composting is one option. If you live in an area that has a local food waste collection service, you can use this, or compost at home.
Ethical and local producers
Stay away from intensively farmed produce which is bred for the highest output and profit. Many animals reared for their meat are fed on plant proteins that are imported from countries like Brazil, resulting in deforestation and loss of communities.
When buying meat, choose meat from ethical farmers that promote the welfare and natural diet of the animal and use smaller scale farming methods.
A good place to get your food would be local farm shops, organic stores and good quality butchers. Shopping from local producers will both support your local businesses and cut down on the environmental impact of transporting food.
Eat different types of meat
Not eating meat for one day of the week is equivalent to not driving for 3 months. But if you’re a meat-lover, it’s helpful to eat more sustainable meats.
Lamb has the highest carbon footprint, followed by beef, pork, salmon, turkey and chicken.
It may be helpful to eat meat lower on that list, or even wild game meat which can be prepared and delivered to you.