Food waste is one of the biggest global problems of our time. But what makes it so problematic? An overview of the impact and why the food waste dilemma doesn't just start in your kitchen. Plus: Easy tips on how to be more mindful with your food.
One thing first: Of course we produce organic waste at home, and sometimes even yesterday's dinner or delicate baby leaf spinach goes bad. It happens. But this is about more than just food waste. It’s about overproduction, supermarket waste, and panic buying. It’s about our consumer society that keeps producing more and more.
Food is being thrown away. That is bad enough. But for production, vast amounts of water are wasted for nothing and pesticides are released into the environment for food that is never used. And any food that is discarded and then not composted does not return nutrients to the cycle. This is extremely problematic! Especially since we know that the earth's resources are finite.
Let's take a look at current food waste facts that underline how serious the issue really is:
In Germany alone, around 12 million tons of food are wasted every year. On average, we throw 75 kilograms of our food in the trash per person.
Almost half of the world's total fruit and vegetable production goes to waste. Figuratively speaking, that's 3.7 trillion apples. It’s hard to imagine such a number but that is the magnitude of the problem.
The food that is most often wasted throughout the world is bread. Over 240 million slices of bread are thrown away every year.
Food waste from Europe alone could feed 200 million hungry people.
When food rots in landfills, it releases methane - a greenhouse gas 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Food waste has a greater impact on the climate than total emissions from air travel (1.9%), plastic manufacturing (3.8%), and oil production (3.8%).
The good news is that reducing food waste is the third most effective way to combat climate change.
Avoiding food waste - our favorite tips
Much needs to happen at the political and global economic levels to better regulate food waste. In France, for example, there is a law that prohibits supermarkets from disposing of food that can still be used. A good sign. Even at home, you can take small steps to prevent food waste:
Farms in your neighborhood usually produce smaller quantities than large industrial farms. Shopping at the market or ordering an organic box supports regional farms.
Magic word "Meal Prep"
Prepare your portions at the beginning of the week and freeze them or store them in a cool place. This way, you can plan quantities precisely and don't waste anything during the week. Plus: You also have more time for other things.
Check the refrigerator regularly
Hello - who's there? A regular look in your fridge gives you a good overview of the food that is currently still in the house. And it's fun to combine things that need to be eaten.
"Yes" to imperfect fruits and vegetables
Our buying standards are also partly to blame for the fact that many foods are discarded before they are even sold. The crooked carrot, the apple with a brown spot or the small strawberries? Say "yes" to imperfect fruits and vegetables. In some countries, there are delivery services for imperfect produce.
Do you know how to store food properly? In the refrigerator, freshly prepared food finds its place at the top. Also opened food and cheese. The middle compartment is home to all other dairy products and at the bottom, where it's coldest, is where you store vegetables. Tomatoes do not belong in the refrigerator. Also, please store apples separately, as they secrete fermenting gases, causing other foods to spoil faster.
Make your own vegetable broth
Did you know that you can make your own vegetable stock from the peelings of onions, carrots, the greens of fennel or celery? Simply collect the leftovers in a bag in the freezer and, when enough has come together, boil it all down with plenty of water for at least 1 hour. Ideally, the leftovers will then go into your kitchen composter.
Off to soilkind!
Here to help you: If something goes bad or you want to dispose of leftovers, soilkind is at your side. Turn organic waste into fresh compost in just 48 hours. You save waste and CO2 and help keep nutrients in the cycle. Mama Earth and your plants say thank you!