Environmental News from India: Do you know that one-third of all food globally goes to waste? That’s enough to feed 3 billion people! If food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter!
If we all stop wasting edible food, it would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road. As per one data, the average person in India wastes 137 grams of food every day. That’s 0.96 kg per week or 50 kg per year. In India, 40% of the food is wasted, equivalent to Rs 92,000 crores a year.
So, stopping food waste is one step toward making our country and planet a better place to live. It is an effortless habit that needs a slight tweaking of our existing patterns of consuming and storing our food.
HOW STOPPING FOOD WASTE HELPS THE PLANET
- Reducing food waste helps relieve pressure on planet earth and its resources. It reduces your environmental and carbon footprint. It allows you to be healthy, fit, and disease-free at the individual level.
- It helps in conserving natural resources. When food is wasted, the natural resources, as well as physical resources applied to prepare the food for eating, are wasted as well. For example, suppose you waste food equivalent to one meal; its impacts on land, air, water, and other human inputs like producing, processing, transporting, energy, storing, and disposing of the food are wasted.
- It helps you save money as a substantial portion of the household budget procures food items.
- It helps reduce greenhouse gases since food waste is one of the reasons for methane gas, a significant component of greenhouse gases. Food is the single-largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions. As per one estimate, more than 85 percent of GHG emissions from land-filled food waste result from activities before food enters a landfill.
HOW TO DEVELOP A HABIT OF REDUCING YOUR FOOD WASTE
- Check your serving portion while planning the meal, cooking the meal, and serving the meal. Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more. Let the first food items be consumed first.
- Be a conscious shopper. You should shop your food items sensibly. Plan your menu before you go shopping and buy only those things on your menu. Buying in bulk only saves money, but this is often not the case with food items as they spoil very fast. Never get trapped by offers like buy-one-get-one-free deals for food items. It can only save money if you use all the food before it spoils. Ideally, you should not buy food items for more than a week.
- Be aware of how to store the food items. If you buy food in bulk, remember to keep food properly in airtight, safe, and labeled containers. Always try to buy seasonal food items. Eating seasonal food items is always good for your health and well-being.
- When you go to eat out, order only what you can finish. Ask about the portion sizes and be aware of side dishes included with entrees. Take home the leftovers and keep them for your next meal.
- Check out your refrigerator first. Freeze and preserve surplus fruits and vegetables – especially abundant seasonal produce.
- It is advisable not to leave perishable food items at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Before buying food items, you should check the dates like ‘use-by, ‘best-by, and expiration dates.
- Storing food properly helps increase the shelf life of the food and reduces food waste. You can keep your dry-fruit items in the refrigerator.
- One of the best ways to save food and reuse food waste is composting. It is better to compost food scraps rather than throw them away.
- Unused, nutritious, safe, and untouched food can be donated to food banks to help those in need.
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