Food waste is an incredibly serious issue that affects everyone, everywhere.
The figures are pretty hard to swallow - a third of all the food produced around the world goes to waste.
This is so much more shocking when we take into account that one in nine people don’t have access to enough food to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Not only is it irresponsible, but it’s causing such a negative impact to the environment - and, it’s threatening food security too.
That’s why it’s so important for us to know exactly what to do with food waste - so we can help reduce its impact.
Whether you’re at home or in a restaurant, there are plenty of beneficial things you can do to help.
1. Identify food waste
First of all, it’s really important that we can recognise food waste.
It’s defined as produce ‘of good quality [that’s] fit for consumption’ but ‘doesn't get consumed because it is discarded’.
Take funny-shaped fruit and veg.
At the moment, between 20% and 40% of produce that has an unusual shape or size, or that’s marked or discoloured, is thrown away before it even leaves the farm because it doesn’t meet the market’s aesthetical standards.
But, really, they shouldn’t be considered as food waste at all - because they’re so tasty and fresh, they should be enjoyed instead.
Similarly, it’s important to know the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates, so we’re not throwing out food that’s still perfectly good to eat.
A lot of food waste simply comes from making too much - cooking bigger portions than needed, for example.
Just by getting in the habit of storing our leftovers in the fridge or freezer to use them later, we could be saving lots of produce that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.
We could even use special tech to help us with this - try using your phone to set reminders about food expiry dates, or upgrading to a modern fridge with cameras inside, so you can check if you really need that extra bottle of milk while you’re at the grocery store.
Whether it’s done in the home, or in restaurants, this small change could help make a huge difference in our fight against food waste.
3. Donate and share ‘Sharing is caring’, as they say.
If you live alone and end up cooking portions that are too large, why not invite your friends or neighbours for dinner to avoid throwing out any leftovers?
Or, if you find extra tins and packets of food that you don’t think you’ll use, perhaps they could be donated to charities or communities in need?
Restaurants and retail outlets can easily do this too, and it’s a win-win situation - it’s an easy way to help reduce food waste and to help those in need, all at the same time. 4. Compost
Compost just refers to decaying organic matter. When you throw scraps on a big compost pile, it all naturally breaks down into a nutrient rich fertiliser that’s great for your garden.
There’s a huge range of stuff you can put on there, from banana skins, apple cores and avocado pits, to bread, cereal and pasta, and coffee grounds, egg shells, herbs and spices.
You have to be careful with some items though. You shouldn’t add anything oily or greasy, or any animal products - milk, meat, butter, cheese…
Having a compost heap in your garden is a really great way to reduce food waste then, because any fruit or veg peel you may have, or any groceries that have gone bad, can be converted into something naturally beneficial.
It’s so easy to do as well, and it’s not as smelly as it sounds!