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Food waste is a big problem locally and internationally. In Canada, about 396 kilograms of food is thrown out per person. In the U.S., that number is even higher at 415 kilograms (or 915 pounds) of food per capita. Corporate food waste is a major contributor, although individuals are also on the hook. An estimated 30 percent of vegetables don’t make it onto supermarket shelves because of esthetic standards – they don’t look good enough for consumers. Restaurants and hotels contribute another 20 percent to food waste and retail an additional 10 percent. However, 300 pounds of food is thrown out every year by households.
If you’re worried that you can’t do anything about food waste, you should know that household waste is the biggest contributor to food waste in the U.S. and Canada. Canadians throw out 170 kilograms of food every year, or 47 percent of total waste.
Food waste is a global issue that affects hundreds of millions of people who experience food insecurity and needlessly contributes to carbon emissions. It also affects you personally, every day. Every time you throw out food that’s gone bad or dry in the fridge, it costs you. You could be spending less on your grocery bill by reducing food waste. So, what you can do about food waste in your own home?
#1 Storing Food
When you store food, do you let it breathe naturally? Beeswax food wrap is an alternative to plastic wrap that lets your food breathe. If you ever find that the quality of food changes after you’ve wrapped it up in airtight plastic wrap or containers, it’s because food was meant to breathe through a skin or rind. Beeswax food wraps from Abeego can be used for all kinds of food: bread, cheese, avocadoes, peppers, tomatoes, greens, mushrooms, and more. They’re reusable, too. All you have to do is wash them in cold water and you can use them for a year or longer.
#2 Shop Smart
Shopping smart means planning out your meals and grocery shopping accordingly. It may mean making more frequent trips to the grocery store (or local markets and farmer’s markets) to buy fresh produce and other products that may expire quickly. If that’s not an option, plan out your meals for the week and stick to your goals.
#3 Learn How to Store Food
Leftovers aren’t the only food you could be storing better. Proper food storage is equally important when it comes to food you just brought home from the store. Vegetables that grow underground like potatoes, garlic, and onions naturally keep for a long time if they’re stored in a cool, dry place out of the sun and out of the refrigerator.
Food waste is a major factor in climate change, adding another 4.4 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and making it comparable to road transportation as a source of emissions. When it comes to food waste, the power is yours. With so much food waste coming from individual households, you can make a difference by reducing how much food you dispose of at home. Shop smarter, learn how to store food, and let your food breathe naturally when you preserve it.
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.