Oh. My. Goodness. Can you even believe it? Get ready, because here are the Top 10 Food Waste Facts That Will Blow Your Mind.
10. Root Vegetables Are Getting Tossed
Remember the movie Sausage Party? It was funny right? All the food with little faces and personalities… Until it comes time to throw them in the garbage! Think about all of the root vegetables you throw out. Put faces on to them. Watch them cry and weep in the garbage or compost because you were not able to consume it, thereby helping complete its food destiny. Oh, the agony! The sadness! Oh, the calamity! Wait… Wait… Wait… is that too dramatic? Are we mourning the root veggies too much? Perhaps, we are, but that is just because they are apparently one of the most wasted foods! How unfortunate for them! But, who would have thought? Like, it could have been tomatoes… it could have been milk… it could have been bananas that brown quickly and all the people who do not know you can use them to bake end up just tossing them… But, nope! It is the root vegetables that get thrown out the most. Apparently. It is hard to know for certain what is actually thrown out the most… especially if we take into consideration that when you throw things into the garbage you are not documenting it and providing some survey company with your answers. You do it in private and that’s that. Yet, somehow it has come to light that root vegetables are ending up trashed more than the other things we consume. How interesting, enlightening, and unfortunate for those poor root veggie souls. To fix this the number one thing to do with your root vegetables is to just bake them right up! You could oven roast them or BBQ them even! Season them however you like! You may find a new penchant for these little suckers and then they won’t end up in the garbage after all!
9. If You’re Going To Waste It Compost It
Compost is awesome. By composting the food we do not eat we help to enrich soil (which you can totally use in your gardens if you are lucky enough to have one). Composting is also amazing because it reduces the amount of stuff that piles into landfills and in turn, it even helps to diminish the amount of methane emitted from said landfills. Compost is the eco way and relatively guilt free way to deal with food waste. Now, the tricky thing is can you compost. Not all cities are compost friendly, which is a big bummer! If you do not have a compost bin or a system set up in your borough then look online. Maybe, just maybe, there is something there for you. Cities are getting their compost game on slowly but surely so you never know what will be coming to you shortly. Compost is a great answer to the food waste problem that is actually so easy to do if there is a system in place to support it. If you have your own wooded area with soil then hey, just do it yourself! Just be sure you do not attract all of the animals! You are not Dr. Doolittle. You don’t want all the animals showing up at your door just because you starting composting. Right? Or maybe you do. If you have a secret wish to be like Dr. Doolittle then hey – no one can stop you! Live your best life!
8. Big Refrigerators Could Be To Blame
Do you have a monster refrigerator at home? Is it always full of good stuff? Do you like to keep it socked? If you do, do you also notice that on those days that you clean the fridge you also have to throw things out? Do you throw a lot of food out? If you don’t then you may deserve a standing ovation or something because the rumor is that people who own big refrigerators end up throwing out more food than those with smaller refrigerators. This simple has to do with the fact that people actually forget what they bought and therefore they do not eat it and it spoils. Bigger may not be better in this case when you think about food waste. That being said you could also just get your head in the game and know what you have. Right? Like this issue here… is this human error or not? Who is at fault, the big fridge or the person who owns the big fridge? Now, let’s turn to all the small fridge owners. Do you also forget stuff in your refrigerators? You shouldn’t, right? But, maybe you do? Everyone can forget what they have and that’s just normal. But, it is still good to be aware of this big fridge and food waste rumor. Heck, it is good to know about it if you are a small fridge owner. Basically, we want to work on our memories and keep in mind the food we have on hand.
7. Meal Planning Can Reduce Food Waste
Meal planning. You may already be doing this or you may know some person who is already does this… You may have your opinions or fears or concerns about it… you have desire to do it but you never got the chance… where ever you fall on the topic, what matters is that meal planning seems to be where it is at! Let’s all get our planners out and plan that sucker – just like Monica from friends would – because, let’s be real, Monica would plan her meals, right? Meal planning is a helpful way to reduce food waste because you literally will only be buying things from the grocery store that you need! This is a crazy effective way to help your pocket book and the amount with which you waste food! So take out those cookbooks! Browse the web! Pull up the Pintrist board! Get to planning! You may find you love it oh so much and waste oh so less!
6. Packaging Food Can Prolong Food’s Lifespan
Next up on our list of the Top Ten Food Waste Facts That Will Blow Your Mind is that packing food can prolong food’s life span. These days we have been so anti plastic, right? Like, so anti plastic that our brains explode and our eyes pop out of our heads if we see, let’s say a cucumber, wrapped in plastic. We think, nope! We will purchase the cucumber not wrapped in plastic as opposed to the one that is wrapped in plastic because we want to do our part for the environment one little gesture at the time. The thing is that you may forget about that cucumber. You may have a plan to eat it in a few days. You may be waiting to whip it out for something planned. Then, you go to get the-plastic wrapped cucumber in your fridge and it’s already soft and starting to rot. So you then throw it away. Cue the sad music please! Now, there is a theory that the cucumber that you left behind because you were trying to save the environment keeps longer than the one that was not wrapped in plastic. Further, that wasting that cucumber is worse than not wasting the cucumber and recycling the plastic. Get it? So, basically what we need to be doing is assessing which is worse: food that is wrapped (thereby propagating the use of plastics) or potentially wasting food (which is obviously bad). Tricky tricky tricky. There is no right answer here. But, it is something to think about!
5. Healthier Diets Can Lead To More Food Waste
If you eat a lot of fresh produce you know that it does not last forever. The more fresh food you buy, the more likely you are to have to throw things out just because you bought fresh food and that’s the way it goes. But, maybe that is okay. Fresh food is so good for you. Eating what is in season rocks. It is what we should all be doing, isn’t it? We cannot all survive on canned spinach like Popeye. Though, that really would be great because surely we would have every little food waste in that case. Canned food is where it is at when we think about wanting to reduce food waste. Like, the food in cans lasts for a long time! But, we may not always want canned food. Shucks. If only we could be like Popeye! At the end of the day we may have to accept that being healthy eaters comes at some kind of cost. We can do our best to eat what we purchase and not purchase too much, but if something goes bad then compost it. Not much you can do about rotten food.
4. Food Waste In the U.S Is On The Rise
So, apparently food waste in America is up by fifty percent since the 1980’s. That’s wild! This is not all of the consumers fault either. Companies seem to be churning out more food than consumers can handle. Then consumers over buy and then they also end up throwing things away and it is a vicious circle. Some people have come up with great plans to reducing their own food waste and you can too if you want! Some people stick their grocery bill to the fridge and then cross out what they consume. Then, they can see what they do not consume and end up throwing away. This is a pretty dope way of doing it because the product is not just on a list it is on a bill and so each product is still linked to a price! This way, you do not only see how much food you end up throwing away but how much money too! Talk about finding a way to save!
3. Farms Waste Too
When we think about food waste sometimes we think about our own habits or even the habits of the grocery stores we buy from or the restaurants we eat at, but rarely do we think about the local farms. Farms are lovely places. We enjoy going to the markets and buying food locally. We enjoy the quality the farms provide us with and usually the lack of pesticides on the products. That being said many farms have tons of food waste, just like the rest of us. Just like grocery stores the farmers are not able to sell all of their food at markets. Furthermore, when they sell to big grocery chains who then resell the food to you sometimes their products are not up to muster and the grocery stores turn them down. What!? How can that be? Well, it is true! If a crop is not up to par with the quality of food the grocery store holds itself up to then it will not buy the food from the farmer and the farmer is stuck with a whole crop of food that they have to use up in some way or just get rid of. So, basically, we are all in it together. One big team battling this food waste problem. No one is excluded! Farms waste too,, even though they try not to. Just like us!
2. “Expiration” Dates Are Mostly Scams
An expiration date is not the be all end all of information on the food you have purchased. Oftentimes we throw out food that is still perfectly fine for consumption and that is all because of the silly date stamped on the container or carton! We throw food away because we trust in the best before dates… We trust them because somehow we think a grocery store would NEVER lie to us. Right? Well, they may not be actually lying. They may be covering up their little butts from being sued for saying a product was good when it could have potentially gone bad and they could also be trying to get you to throw out a product and come in and buy more. They are not lying with these expiration dates… they are just not giving you all of the information. It is also on us somehow for assuming these dates were written in stone when they simply aren’t. The expiration dates may be a good guide. A helpful nod to what we could pay attention to. They are like a nice friendly “Hey – check this out” kind of message. However, they are not absolute. They are not the governing law of food. They should not be respected all of the time. Use your judgment. Think of yourself as Judge Judy of the kitchen. You’ve got this. You know when something deserves to stay and something deserves to go. You don’t need a silly haphazard stamp or label to tell you otherwise! Stand your ground and judge… judge that food. Judge it like Judy would want you to. Be strong with your decisions in the kitchen. Do the right thing. Tell that food off. Tell it to stay put in that fridge until it really is ready to go. Don’t let the stores do that judging for you.
1. We Waste So Much Fresh Water
We are all culpable of using too much water. Now, this does not mean you should not have had that second glass of water at dinner of that you should not have used water to wash your face before bed. What it means is that we let the water run when it shouldn’t. Come on, the water isn’t Forest Gump. We don’t want the water to run water run, we want to save it and use it when we need it. Just because we have what seems to be a limitless amount of water in North America does not necessarily mean we do. There are some super easy ways to reduce the amount of water that you waste and that are really not that hard to get right. Like, don’t let the shower run for ten minutes before getting in it. Or, don’t let the water run when you are doing the dishes. And whatever you do, just please turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. You and most everyone out there does not do this. We were never trained to turn off the tape when brushing our teeth and man oh man is this wasting precious water. If you think about it this is all easy. You could ace this test (that is if you were being tested and a score was being tallied and this world was like the one they show in The Good Place). So, hey, try to earn some points and turn off your taps when you don’t need the water. Cool?