Food Waste Reduction
As the old saying goes, “Waste not, want not” and that is as true today as it has ever been. In Canada alone, 47% of food wasted comes from the home, that equates on average to a staggering $1,456 per household per year.
So what can we do?
- Check your fridge and cupboards before you shop
- Search for recipes for using your leftovers
- Donate items that are still good to your local Food Bank
- Make a list before you go
- Shop with specific meals in mind
- Follow your list
- Buy the funny-looking produce — often no one else does and they go to waste
Try the “Eat First” Challenge
If you have ever put something into the fridge, you know that somehow things tend to go missing in there. They get pushed to the back, or new items block the view to older ones. You may even feel excited to tuck into the new produce straight away. Then inevitably, weeks later, you find that shriveled carrot or putrefied cucumber still encased in its plastic wrapper, along with other items that are well passed edible, so off to the compost they go (minus the plastic of course.) Let’s face it we’ve all done it!
What if you had a way to keep the newest food apart from the food you already have in the fridge? Would you waste less money on groceries? Would you spend less time cleaning your fridge? You bet!
- Separate your new grocery items from existing food; Baskets or containers are a great way of doing this.
- It’s all about visual strategy; put the oldest to the front and the newest at the back (grocery stores have been doing this forever)
- Encourage everyone in your household to use up the older items before reaching for the new, the fruit bowl, the fridge, however you roll.
Busting the “Best Before Date” Dilemma
The “best before” date does not guarantee product safety, but it does give you information about the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened food you are buying. This must appear on pre-packaged foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less. Retail-packaged foods may be labelled with either a “best before” date and storage instructions, or the date packaged, along with a “best before” date and storage instructions.
You can buy and eat foods after the “best before” date has passed. It may have lost some of its freshness, flavour and nutritional value, and its texture may have changed.
(This information has been taken directly from Health Canada> How to read food date labels and packaging)
For up-to-date information on everything from proper food storage, safely defrosting foods, to home canning tips, go to: Government of Canada > General Food Safety Tips
It’s always party season!
Why not practice your waste reduction skills around the grill and beyond, the next time you have a party, potluck or family gathering?
Here’s our guide;
Know your numbers: If you are planning to have a few people over, try to get a good idea of how many are coming. This way you will prepare the right amount of food.
Check the fridge first: Before heading to the grocery store, see what you have on hand and build your menu on these items.
Make a grocery list: Know what you need and stick to that list.
At the store: When buying food, pick items that can be made into other dishes too.
Hosting a Potluck? Be clear with guests on what and how much to bring. Share with your guests that you want to reduce food waste and lots of leftovers – they are sure to appreciate the intent.
Be real – plates, forks, knives, cups! Hosting a large event? – Go with paper plates and napkins (they can be composted) and recyclable cups.
Set-up for sorting: Use paper compostable bags for compost and have a tote set out for dishes. Check out our printable sorting signs!
Guests from out of province? While composting and recycling has been a way of life in Nova Scotia for 20+ years, some of your guests may be new to our ways.
Containers at the ready! Cool leftovers quickly and store well to get the most out of your leftovers.
Share the love: Bundle up leftovers and send them home with guests or give to neighbours.