Your food choices matter. If you eat and buy sustainably, you’re reducing your carbon footprint, promoting personal and public health, supporting independent farms and rural communities, and protecting animal welfare and workers.
If you think about it, every dollar you spend at a local farmer’s market is one less dollar supporting industrialised food systems. Every fair-trade coffee you buy will support ethical working conditions.
If you’re not sure where you can source ethically and sustainably sourced food, a quick google search will offer a ton of great ideas. You can also learn to cook with local ingredients, eat seasonally, start preserving the produce you buy, grow your own edible garden, and minimise your reliance on convenience.
As important as eating sustainably is, managing your food waste is just as crucial. The Choosi Modern Food Trend Report reveals, 41.7% of Australians feel they waste food at home, while close to 28.9% feel they waste food when eating out.
Furthermore, 17.7% feel they waste food at work. Many people don’t realise how much food they throw away or where this waste ends up.
So, the question is: how do you change your habits?
Helpful tips to reduce food waste when cooking
What are the benefits of reducing food waste? To start, you can save money from buying less food. You’re also lowering your carbon footprint; preventing pollution involved in growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food; and you’re supporting your community.
So, what should you keep in mind when cooking at home?
- Only buy what you need. This means you may make more visits to the grocery store or plan your meals in advance. When it comes to cooking, use smaller plates and don’t over serve. You should also save (and eat!) your leftovers, and store food properly so it doesn’t rot.
- Make sure your fridge and freezer is clutter-free with everything inside kept neat and visible. To improve your habits, keep track of your waste and donate any excess to food banks, charities and local farms.
- If you have organic waste such vegetable peels, fruit pulp from juicing, coffee grounds or grains, compost the leftover materials rather than throwing them in the bin. Creating a compost prevents your food scraps from being dumped in a landfill, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases created.
Tips to reduce food wastage when eating out
If you’re regularly eating out, it’s worth understanding how much waste some restaurants and cafes generate. Many establishments are more focused on customer satisfaction and profits as opposed to waste, so it’s in your hands to make a difference. If you’re committed to eating sustainably, do some research before you go out to find an eatery that complements your choices.
Reducing waste can be as simple as ordering smaller plates or share meals. If you think about the huge serving portions in some restaurants, this shouldn’t be too hard. You can also ask your waiter to hold off on food items you won’t eat, or even explain your low-waste lifestyle.
Try to eat at restaurants with good sustainability practices (there are many making strides in various areas). By the same token, avoid fast food and buffet-style establishments – think about how much packaging goes to waste!
Don’t forget there’s no shame in bringing home leftovers. If you’re worried about packaging waste, simply bring your own containers. And even if you don’t plan to eat the leftovers, you can always give them to someone in need (pets included if it’s safe for them to eat).
Not only will cutting down of food waste save you money, it may also help make your corner of the world better too. Considering sustainable options and your impact on the environment when making food choices is one way you can contribute to a better, healthier future.