Food waste has been gaining a lot of attention in the news, and statistics showing staggering amounts of food that is thrown out sparks a practical interest in how to save food and money from going to waste.
One report featured by ABC News showcased the food practices of an average family of 4 and found that they typically threw away approximately 25% of their total monthly grocery bill, around the equivalent of 13 pounds of discarded food.
That is a substantial amount to be thrown out, and when figuring that this is the norm for most families, it adds up to an enormous quantity.
The U.S. is not alone in their wasteful behavior, either.
The U.K. creates around 15 million tons of food waste annually, most of this occurring at home. Also, CNN reported Hong Kong’s food waste issues are one of the major causes of the cities’ trash problem. Some 40% of food isn’t consumed, leading to tons of daily waste. Food waste reduction projects have been set up by the government with a 2016 goal of decreasing discards by at least 10%.
According to the report, the amount of thrown away food worldwide that is actually recycled is about 3%. Hong Kong has services like Save Food facilities that have been in effect since 2009 which pair up with restaurants in order to make use of leftovers. Additionally, an interesting way to use up food remnants is being looked into by a city university researcher who has developed biotechnology advancements that can transform bread materials into succinic acid. It can then be used to make things like environmentally friendly detergent and bioplastic merchandise.
Without having to invent a way to turn scraps into a reusable compound, there are simple ways to reduce food waste, starting at the store. Planning meals, making a list, and checking the kitchen’s current inventory before shopping will help eliminate some initial waste. Once food is brought home, keeping things organized, stored in the appropriate place and at the correct temperatures will keep food from going bad and having to be discarded. Freezing things that won’t be used right away can help too.
LoveFoodHateWaste has advice on how to decrease amounts of unused food and conserve money with recipes for using up leftovers, tips on optimal food storage and other ideas.
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