Celebrate Stop Food Waste Day: How to Reduce Food Waste

The last Wednesday in April: Stop Food Waste Day: How to reduce food waste
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The last Wednesday in April: Stop Food Waste Day: How to reduce food waste. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrate Stop Food Waste Day: Here’s how to reduce food waste and protect the edible resources we pay for.

The last Wednesday in April is Stop Food Waste Day, a day to raise awareness of the growing worldwide food waste crisis and address some of the world’s food production, hunger, and climate change challenges. Food waste is the discarding or disposing of edible food that is still fit for human consumption.

Food is the number one thing found in American landfills, with fruits and vegetables being the most common food items being thrown away. And the impact food waste has on the environment is high. If food loss were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the US.

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent food from finding its way into the landfill. Reducing food waste can be done at the beginning of the food chain at the production level, right down to the end of the food chain at the consumer level.

Restaurant owners, food producers, processors, and distributors can reduce food waste by conducting waste assessments and setting targets for reducing waste. They can also reduce food waste by upcycling and reusing food.

Upcycling means taking unused food and turning it into another food product. For example, leftover vegetables can be turned into a soup. Reusing food means reselling or donating unused, edible food to needy people. Food that hasn’t been sold throughout the day can be discounted or donated to a food bank.

Consumers can reduce food waste by planning and taking inventory. Taking stock of your pantry and refrigerator and planning your meals in advance can greatly reduce food waste. Saving or repurposing leftovers is another way to reduce food waste.

Learning how to store your food can help prevent your food (namely produce) from going bad and reduce the risk of you having to throw it away before being able to use it. Research the ways to properly store produce. And whatever you can’t save, make sure you’re composting either with backyard composting or a city-run compost program.

Buying “ugly” foods or discounted food products is another way to help reduce food waste. Some companies will deliver “ugly” foods to you with a monthly subscription. Many grocery stores will sell food near its expiration date at reduced prices so the food doesn’t go to waste.

When grocery shopping, understand the best before dates. These dates are put on fresh food for less than 90 days. It doesn’t mean they aren’t edible or are unsafe to eat after that date. The expiration date typically means the food will not be edible. Use your best judgment and your senses to determine if the food is good to eat before you think about throwing it away.

You can reduce food waste not only on Stop Food Waste Day but every day. Here are a few other ways you can reduce food waste:

  • Educate yourself about best food practices.
  • Buy less.
  • Use food apps to purchase discounted food from grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Learn about the use-by and best-by dates.
  • Prevent food waste by storing food optimally, using every ingredient, and planning meals ahead of time.
  • Inspire others to waste less and repurpose more.
  • Redistribute unused food to your local community.
  • Discover near recipes that allow you to give a second life to ingredients or leftovers.
  • Promote neighborhood composting and composting at home.
  • Watch documentaries about food waste including Just Eat It, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, and Food Waste in America

Every effort we make to reduce food waste is one step to ensuring food stays out of landfills and gets consumed as much as possible.

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