Food is glorious – let’s not waste it!
Food, glorious food! Most of us are lucky to live in a part of the world where three square meals a day are the norm – so we probably don’t appreciate food quite as much as the cast of the Broadway musical “Oliver”. As a result, we often take it for granted – and we sure waste a lot: by some estimates, up to one third!
That’s bad for our wallet, especially at a time when grocery prices are up. But it’s also bad for the environment. Our food has a significant carbon footprint: from production to transportation to processing to refrigeration; from deforestation to nitrogen fertilizer to methane.
We all have to eat – but most of us could greatly reduce the carbon footprint of our diets by simply wasting less. Here are a few tips:
- Develop the habit (and, in your household, the culture) of not leaving anything on your plate. (Growing up, our sons often heard the expression “clean your plate like Oma” – a reference to my Mom, who learned the importance of not wasting food while growing up in Holland during WW2.)
- Develop the habit of saving all leftovers for yummy lunches and snacks later.
- To reduce spoilage losses, reserve a section in your fridge for things that need to be used up first, and plan meals that incorporate them. (In a pinch, soup is a great solution!)
- Really important: remember that ‘best before’ dates are only indicators; most food is perfectly fine to consume long past its best before date. (Trust me on this – I’m living proof it’s true!)
- Avoid the temptation to buy an ingredient that will only be used for one recipe; or else plan to use all of it right away.
- Buy perishables in large quantities only if you know for sure you’ll use everything up before it spoils (else it’s false economy). Buy staples in bulk to save money and reduce packaging.
- Consider buying food from the ‘imperfect’ bin if available: it may not be as pretty, but it has the same nutritional value for a lower price, and might otherwise be thrown out.
- Store all food properly to maximize shelf life.
- Avoid delivered food boxes. Their claims of ‘fresh, quality ingredients’ conveniently ignore the reality that you can get those very same ingredients for far less at your local grocery store, usually with a smaller trash and transportation footprint.
Avoid restaurant meal delivery services like DoorDash and Skip The Dishes. Aside from the cost, they generally have a significant trash footprint and a large carbon footprint, mainly because of that custom delivery.
Reducing food waste is a relatively easy way to cut down on emissions – and you can save money in the process! Find even more tips here, and good luck on your journey!
In the news:
A new study concludes climate change could cause Atlantic Ocean currents to stop flowing this century, with enormous implications on our weather.
A great start, even if a bit late: Canada’s federal government unveils its plans to phase out subsidies to the oil and gas industry (IE the richest industry in the world).
Three cheers for sober second thought: GM reverses its earlier decision and announces it will continue to build its most popular EV, the Chevrolet Bolt!
“For too long, Canada has entertained the myth that CCS for oil and gas is a silver-bullet solution in creating a globally competitive, low-carbon oil and gas sector.”
- Laura Cameron, International Institute for Sustainable Development