1.3 billion tons of food rots at home or on store shelves worldwide every year. 30-50% of food stocked in supermarkets is later thrown out by consumers. 21% of global landfill consists of wasted food products. Now is the time to start addressing food wastage at local levels so that we can maximize our edible products, prevent overconsumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions released from landfill burning.
We can achieve this by thinking outside the box and becoming more educated about our food products. For example, we can shop more productively by only buying what we need on a daily basis. Additionally, composting turns our food scraps into energy for plants, and freezing preserves leftover meals for longer periods of time.
However, one of the most underrated solutions is getting more creative in the kitchen. We can preserve and ferment vegetables, use stems, stalks and carcasses for sauces and stocks, plus utilize ginger and cucumber peelings to perk up water. We can even transform our leftovers into new meals and use every aspect of our vegetables. For example, keeping the skin on pumpkin and utilizing the seeds not only adds nutrients and flavor but also reduces waste. Coffee grounds also act as a great fertilizer for plants and a natural mosquito repellent.
By 2050, it is expected that we would need 3 planet earths to sustain current lifestyles for the projected population of 9.6 billion. Therefore, by maximizing our food products we can help reduce overconsumption. Purchasing less food reduces demand and places less pressure on the agricultural and food production industry. Therefore, the food otherwise wasted can be used to improve food distribution to rural low-income communities who suffer from hunger, poverty and poor access to food. Ultimately, by thinking smart with food we can limit food waste, greaten consumption efficiency and address social and health inequalities in low-income countries.