About $27 billion worth of Canadian food ends up in our landfills each year. That’s equivalent to 40% of all the food we produce in Canada. Food waste occurs all along the food chain, but we consumers are responsible for 50% of the $27B. That’s right, Canadians throw away $13.5B worth of food each year and the majority of this waste can be avoided (Value Chain Management Centre, November 2010). What a waste!
The main reasons people throw away food is they’ve prepared too much, the food wasn’t used in time or they didn’t know what to do with the leftovers. But food waste is not as simple as some people believe. Here’s how WRAP explains the overarching effect of food waste on lovefoodhatewaste.com:
So, it’s not just food that’s wasted, but other people’s hard work, time and our planet’s valuable and limited resources. We need to make a serious effort at reducing food waste in our homes and here’s how:
1) Enjoy eating your food.
We live busy lives and many of us have good intentions of making healthy meals for our families. We buy beautiful produce, expensive cuts of meat, lovely cheeses only to have them rot away in the fridge in exchange for a quick take out meal at the local fast food joint. If you notice that you’re throwing unused food away each week buy less food, particularly if you have plans to eat out, and start taking the time to really enjoy the food you’ve spent your hard earned money on.
2) Get to know your fridge, freezer and cupboards.
Before you go grocery shopping look in your fridge and freezer to see what you have and what needs to be used up. Don’t buy more of what you already have unless you need more. Make note of what food is approaching its expiration and plan meals to use up those ingredients right away. Also, having a well stocked pantry allows you to be more creative in using up food before it wastes without having to make extra shopping trips.
3) Make a menu and a shopping list.
Not only will a menu and shopping list save you time and money, it will prevent impulse buys and ultimately prevent food waste. I find weekly menus work well for our household, other families prefer biweekly or even monthly. There are many websites that offer practical suggestions for making menus. Feel free to browse through my weekly menus for inspiration too.
4) Store perishable foods properly.
WRAP offers tips for storing foods. Storing food properly will make it last longer resulting in less food and money waste. For example, freeze nuts to keep them fresh or if you only use half an avocado leave the stone in the other half to keep it fresh.
5) Prepare the right portions.
Do you always find extra pasta or rice hiding out in the fridge? WRAP has an online tool that allows you to figure out the perfect portions for your meal. Use WRAP’s tool to calculate how much pasta you need to cook for a family of four or a family of ten. You can even use the tool to calculate vegetables, fruit, cereals, grains and pulses and meat and fish.
6) Use those leftovers.
Don’t be afraid to use leftover food. Eat it the next day for lunch or dinner or use it to make another meal. Another option, depending on the leftover, is to freeze it. Soups and stews freeze exceptionally well. Check Love Food Hate Waste for great leftover and food rescuing recipes.
7) Compost or vermicompost food scraps.
A small amount of food waste in unavoidable. Peels, cores, egg shells, coffee grounds and teabags are a few examples. But don’t send them to the trash! Composting food waste turns it into rich food for your plants and garden. Your city website should tell you where to buy a composter or make one yourself using free pallets (like this one). If you have no yard try vermicomposting. It doesn’t take much space and when done right it doesn’t smell. Trust me!
Today’s giveaway is from Kootsacs. Kootsacs are made by a textile and clothing designer who saw a need for an alternative to plastic produce and bulk food bags. Kootsac bags are lightweight, strong, washable and reusable and are made from high quality ripstop nylon, 100% natural silk or 100% cotton. The bags come in various sizes to hold spices, herbs, grains, lentils, and produce both small and large. The bags weigh the same as plastics bags and have no drawstring for this reason.
A year ago I purchased a set of cotton and ripstop nylon produce bags from Kootsacs. They are fabulous and I recommend them to everyone. So naturally, I’m very excited about this giveaway. Without further ado, the giveaway:
These bags are made of 100% unbleached cotton and measures 25.4cm(10″) by 43.2cm(17″). The bags are suitable for produce or large amounts of grains and pulses. Each bag has been screen printed by hand using non-toxic water based textile paint. An image of a butterfly’s delicately folded wings reminds us that the earth is vulnerable and needs our care and attention (Kootsacs).
A big thank you to Kootsacs for sponsoring this giveaway!
Enter the Giveaway:
1) Leave a comment below about how your household plans to reduce food waste this week. Please leave an email address if you do not have a link on your name so I can contact you if you win.
2) Visit Kootsacs and then come back here and comment by telling me which bag you like the best.
3) Facebook, blog or tweet about this giveaway and link back to this blog. Leave a separate comment for each thing you’ve done telling me you’ve done so.
So there are multiple ways of entering this giveaway with a potential of five entries per person!