5 Simple, Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste
“The amount of food waste generated in Singapore has increased by about 20% over the past 10 years and is expected to increase with our growing population and economic activity” - National Environment Agency (NEA)
Chew Can Reduce the Waste
In 2019 alone, 744,000 tonnes of food waste was generated in Singapore which is 60 times as heavy as a Blue Whale!
While America remains to be running the gamut in food wastage, the rest of the world is not too far behind. In London, restaurants Bluebird and First Dates, Paternoster Chop House wants to make ‘doggy bags’ (our tapaus) cool again to stop food wastage in its tracks.
It’s about time we make ‘take away’ cool the world over.
During a time of a deathly pandemic, restaurants were seen measuring things up in the kitchens with ‘The Waste Not, Want More’ Campaign in collaboration with The Felix Project. Food scraps from kitchens are gathered to feed the poor or those who are deeply affected by the Pandemic.
“Food waste in industrialized countries can be reduced by raising awareness among food industries, retailers, and consumers. There is a need to find a good and beneficial use for safe food that is presently thrown away.” - FOA.org (pdf)
Food Wastage Effects and Consequences
Fun fact: Singapore imports over 90% of our food supply.
And as food waste increases, more food has to be sourced to meet the demand, further increasing Singapore’s food insecurity situation.
Land scarcity has always been a major issue when dealing with the food supply chain in this affable island of sunshine and economic bliss.
So far, it has not been able to solve the food problem-at-hand. Building more waste disposal facilities like landfills for the increasing percentage of food waste is still a far-off ideal.
Instead, we should all start with avoiding food wastage and excess food production at home where we still have the iron-fist control over how much we buy, cook, serve, and, yes...throw away.
“In industrialized countries, approximately 40 percent of food waste occurs in stores and at home.” - FoodTank
Food Preservation Know- and Do-How
Know your Portion
It doesn’t matter if you’re eating out or cooking at home, understanding how much food you can finish should be at the top of your list of priorities.
Do not over-order food in restaurants if you are not into the appetizers, side dishes, and desserts (I know it is tempting) for the day.
On the home-front, call ahead of time to find out who’s coming home for dinner before prepping and cooking dinner.
Areli Designs - Leaf Printed Plates Set of 6
2. Practice Diligent, Realistic Shopping
This has to do with when you’re walking the aisle of a supermarket. Your senses are overloaded with options and choices.
These are times when your head is flooded with recipes you’ve watched on Youtube, seen in books or magazines will pop out at you, and you think, “Oh, I am going to make that this week!”
Overbuying is a major yet common issue when grocery shopping without a list. Before heading out, remember to check the fridge and cabinets to avoid getting what you already have.
Buy only items that are necessary and not what you want or “think” you need. Not only is that better for your health, but it also benefits the wallet!
Dig into your pantry before either cooking, planning your meals, or going out for a grocery run. Find out if you can make simple pantry meals once or twice a day this week.
3. Don’t Forget the Leftovers
Unfinished food from a large meal? Don't toss them out into the bin just yet!
Save the excess food and simply store them in clear glass containers (with a date on them, if possible) to ensure you don’t overlook or forget about them in the back of your fridge. Whether you turn dinner into the next day’s packed lunch or as a side dish, leftovers are fantastic money- and time- savers.
Just make sure you don’t have a stash of leftovers and is regularly accumulating the pile; always check and use up the extra food before it goes bad.
Arthur Zaaro - African Mahogany Medium Cutting/Serving Board
4. Composting & Making Homemade Fertilisers
Recycling kitchen waste and turning them into organic fertiliser is not only useful for preserving the soil with its rich nutrients, but it is also extremely satisfying to know that the usual “garbage” meant for the landfills can be easily converted to environmentally-friendly and cost-saving compost.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that food sent to landfills creates 16% of U.S. methane emissions.”
First, keep a compost container in the kitchen to collect vegetables, fruit peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, nutshells that will usually be disposed of. Avoid fatty meats, bones and products that are greasy or oily.
Other things you can use for compost are natural waste like leaves and lawn clippings. Adding sawdust that is high in carbon will speed up the composting process too!
Drill holes at the bottom of an appropriately-sized plastic bucket and keep a tray to collect the naturally-discharged water during the composting process.
Line the bucket with a layer of soil to store your kitchen and natural waste on top. Toss them around once or twice every week to encourage air circulation. You will know your fertiliser is ready when your soil-like mixture gets dark in colour.
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5. Make your Own Stock!
Most of us might throw away kitchen scraps like vegetable tops, carrot peels, mushroom stalks or unwanted parts of your greens. Don’t. They’re insanely delicious and flavourful for broths!
Simply saute them up, dump them in a pot, add some water, fresh herbs, simmer away and Voila! You’ve just transformed your food waste into an aromatic homemade vegetable stock. The home-made stock is perfect for all kinds of savoury soups, stews and sauces.
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash
6. Recycling and Reusing What’s in the Fridge
Even though overripe fruits and vegetables can look a little discoloured and off-putting on the outside, they are often juicer and more flavorful than fresh fruits! Just store them in the freezer and blend them up for your next smoothie. This works for grapes, berries, spinach, bananas, mangoes and so much more!
They might be a little too ripe as snacks, but you can always use them to make jam or even incorporate them into your baking projects. It’s as easy as searching up recipes online!
Also, ever considered preserving your own food? Kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles sound pretty good to me. It might be new but definitely something worth trying if there is excess food in the fridge that can’t be consumed in time.
This could be your secret stress-buster and an amusing kitchen experiment.
There are many more tips and ideas on how to reduce food waste from where that came from.
So, if it is within your power to advise your home helper, you can reduce, reuse and recycle your food waste in no time.
Not only are these tips practical and useful, they are time and cost-effective too. We should all aim to be zero-waste households to help create positive change and conserve mother Earth’s valuable resources.
These easy, minimal steps might sound minuscule to you, but remember this: Alone, we are a drip of water, together, we’re the ocean.
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