Week 5: 2020 #Waves4Change Sustainability Challenge- Avoiding Food Waste

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Guest Post by Kristen Vidmar, DLDT Associate Board Member

Why Take This Challenge?

Americans have fast-paced lifestyles, we are always “on-the-go” which means we cannot always plan our meals ahead of time. It is no secret that food waste is a large issue, one that is found throughout the entire value chain of a food products. Consumers are not the only ones to blame BUT we do play a part. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, approximately one-third of the food produced in a year goes to waste. That is equivalent to 1.3 tons per year! Yet there are still people in the world who do not have access to food. Thankfully, retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Asda (UK retailer) are taking on some of the responsibility to solve this issue. Instead of throwing the food away, they have decided to find other uses such as converting it into animal feedstock, redistributing the food as donations, giving discounts on food that is close to expiring, and some are educating consumers on how to properly read food dating labels. Although we may not be able to give last night’s leftovers to a person across the world, we can still find ways to avoid and minimize our own food waste.

How Does This Challenge Benefit Me?

Throwing food in the garbage can almost feel like you are throwing your money away. You worked hard to provide for yourself and others in your household and now that earned meal is rotting in your trash bin. Let’s try to save that money though by avoiding food waste! One easy way to save food is to ration out the food into portions, store it in Tupperware and place it in your freezer. When you need a quick meal, all you have to do is reheat it!
You can also compost your fruit and vegetable peels to use as fertilizer in the spring! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released guidelines on how you can start composting at home.

What If I Already Do This?

Food waste is everywhere, take it a step further and see how you can help improve your community, work place, and/or other locations that you are frequently visiting.

Prep This Weekend for Your More Sustainable Week

Sit down and think about your schedule this week. Does it make more sense to cook fresh food on a specific night? If you are unsure about how much food you might need, plan for a lighter week of cooking and use alternatives such as cereal, eggs, or frozen vegetable packs for meals. These only take a couple minutes to prepare and usually cover one serving so there should be minimal to no food waste.

FAQ:

Where can I become educated on the food dating labels?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released information about food dating which can be found here.
Taking this challenge? Spread the word and use the hashtag #Waves4Change so we can change the world together and inspire others to live better.

Sources:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
http://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/en/

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