The campaign to tackle food waste is gaining momentum across the globe. Most recently, New York chef Dan Barber has been getting in on the act, hosting a pop-up dinner to show what can be done with scraps, leftovers and industrial by-products.
There has been some controversy in recent months as the British Retail Consortium released a report claiming that only 1.3% of all food waste in Britain came from the grocery retail industry. The UK charity Feedback was particularly critical of the report, pointing out that the figures ignored many of the greatest sources of waste within the supply chain, such as on farms, overseas, in distribution centres and slaughterhouses. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a difference in our own homes.
In the United States, as in Britain, around 25% of food is wasted at home. Sustainable America has launched a new campaign called I Value Food, which is aimed directly at consumers to make it easier for them to help combat food waste.
The website for I Value Food contains a whole host of infographics and resources to educate consumers on how to waste less food, whether eating in restaurants or cooking at home. The resources section includes:
- Websites that are particularly geared towards helping home cooks to waste less, whether it’s advice on canning and preserving or what to do with those leftover egg whites.
- How to plan your meals effectively ahead of time so that you only buy what you need, rather than being distracted by unusual items in the shop, which will probably be left lingering in the bottom of the fridge.
- Tips on how to store your fruit and vegetables to improve their shelf life. For instance, if you store onions with potatoes, you’ll shorten the shelf life of both!
- How to create your own compost in a small amount of space, using leftovers such as teabags and banana peels, while also avoiding the usual smells and pests.
- Ways to engage others by hosting a Salvage Supperclub and inviting friends to bring their neglected items in danger of going bad and using them to create a delicious meal together.
Remember, while it’s important to do what you can to reduce the food waste in your own home, it’s also vital to maintain pressure on supermarkets and businesses: they must change their practices to prevent waste elsewhere in the supply chain. I Value Food has a whole section on the ways in which you can help reduce food waste at home, in the community and across the nation by supporting businesses with good practices and engaging with your local government. Alternatively, if you’re in Britain, visit Feedback’s website for advice on how to take further steps in the fight against wasted food.
Photograph: Steph French
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