Written by: Natalie Henderson, Marketing at Blueland
November 15, 2021
As the holiday season approaches, we have food on our minds. During this season, food is central to many of our favorite activities, Thanksgiving spreads and holiday treats are in abundance, but so is food waste.
Is Food Waste An Environmental Issue?
Yes. Food waste is a huge global problem that doesn’t only have financial and humanitarian implications. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 30-40% of the food supply (https://www.usda.gov/foodwaste/faqs) is food waste, that’s almost 133 billion pounds of wasted food, and $166 million worth of food. So, where does all this wasted food go?
Most food waste ends up in landfills, where it emits greenhouse gases. For food to break down properly and safely, it requires oxygen, water, the presence of some microorganisms and time. Unfortunately, these conditions are rarely met in landfills, and instead food breaks down through an anaerobic process, which has harmful byproducts, like methane gas, a powerful greenhouse gas that can have 86x the warming potential of carbon dioxide. According to Our World In Data (https://ourworldindata.org/food-waste-emissions), 6% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions comes from food waste.
Food waste is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world
Food waste can come from a lot of different sources, from grocery stores, restaurants, and our own homes. Luckily, we have some tips to help you combat food waste in your home, and you don’t need anything more than what you already have at home to do it!
5 Sustainable Tips To Reduce Food Waste
- Water Food Storage: Storing some fruits and veggies in water can extend the life up to 1 month! Instead of leaving produce to sit in your fridge and spoil, fill up a bowl or jar with water and extend the life of produce like lemons, carrots, herbs and even avocados!
- Freezing: When it comes to food waste, the freezer is your best friend. Extend the life of breads, milk, tomato sauce, even herbs by freezing them all in ice cube trays. Just thaw when you’re ready to eat and save a ton of waste!
- Food Storage Tips: Extend the life of fresh herbs by wrapping them in tin foil and keeping them in your crisper. Keep the same sheet of foil to use for the next batch of herbs! When storing potatoes, keep them stored with an apple and avoid storing with onions to avoid unwanted sprouting. No one likes wilted lettuce, so store yours with a towel to keep it from wilting and keep it fresh for longer.
- Repurpose: Before you throw away your food items, make sure you can’t repurpose them first. Older veggies can mix together to make vegetable stock and you can save fruits and veggies that are starting to go by freezing them and using them for smoothies.
- Compost: Some food waste is inevitable, but if you can, compost the food waste you do produce. Composting can help keep food out of landfills, and ensure the food breaks down with aerobic degradation, leaving no harmful greenhouse gases behind. Not sure where to start? Check out our Composting Guide here!
The best way to reduce food waste is to buy only what you need, but we know some food waste is inevitable, but these tips and tricks can help you hold on to your food for longer and reduce as much as possible.