Jess’ Post: Food Waste, the Final Chapter

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This week’s blog post is my final post for the food waste survey responses I’ve been sharing. For those of you who haven’t read my past posts, I created a ten question survey for my friends, family, and colleagues to hear their own perspectives on food waste. Last week I shared some of the responses I received to questions 7 and 8, which focused on why people waste food, and how reducing food waste might in turn reduce some of our other problems. This week’s questions focus on what changes my participants could easily make and what has surprised them about the changes they have already made.

 

Q9: What is one thing you think you could quickly change to reduce your own personal food waste?

  • “I think simple things I could do are really only take what I can eat, start with smaller portions and work up. And try to use as much of the food as I can, cut off parts that have gone bad, use the stem ect”

  • “I need to figure out how to organize my freezer so things don’t get lost in there”

  • “I would love to buy dry goods in bulk and not use plastic bags for produce. I also plan to find something to do with the massive amounts of grounds that I produce from my morning coffee”

  • “My personal food waste would be reduced if I could have someone else do the grocery shopping and meal prep”

  • “I could just buy fresh produce for that day’s immediate use”

  • “Freeze even more than I already do and learn how to ‘can’. I can make a ton of soup at a time, for example, and sometimes I freeze it, but that’s not always convenient if I forget to take it out of the freezer, or get home late and want something simple. If I learned how to can it, I could just pop open the jar and heat it up on the stove. This would also help me not eat so much sodium and sugar since I can control what I put in my own foods rather than just eating the salt mines and cane plantations they usually put in canned goods”

  • “Compost kitchen scraps and plan my meals more efficiently so no food goes to waste”

SO many great things were mentioned here! It’s been really neat to see how all of my participants have analyzed their own lives and tried to find things they can change even if they are already making changes. There is always more you can do! Many of the possible changes are simple and involve just being a conscious consumer!

 

Q10: If you have already started to adjust your actions to reduce how much food you waste, what has been the most surprising realization you have come across?

  • “I have really been trying to push the limit of when food has gone bad and it has made me realize how arbitrary those decisions are. Potatoes with eyes, a piece of fruit with a small bad spot, a little mold on some cheese are all still fine and it’s made me realize how long I can keep food and use it”

  • “I haven’t really found anything surprising yet. That’s probably because I try to do little things that alone aren’t really noticeable, but add up to a lot over time”

  • “I save so much more money just by buying smaller quantities”

  • “The most surprising realization that I’ve had… is [seeing] how little general garbage you produce once composting and cooking with all parts of an ingredient is something you do on the reg. This might have to do with my effort to reduce all types of waste, but even looking at the things that go into the compost bowl I’m glad that they’re not being sent to a landfill”

  • “I’m not really sure, I grew up in a family of six kids, money was always tight so we were raised to be frugal with food and to save leftovers. I think the bigger realization is seeing all the food in the produce section of the grocery store and knowing that none of it ever looks “bad” so you come to realize they must dispose of the less than perfect looking food”

  • “It’s really hard to be consistent and steady in your efforts”

I think it’s really important to acknowledge the fact that something is hard. Reducing food waste isn’t always easy. It definitely takes a shift in lifestyle no matter how small of a change you decide to make. Sometimes we slip back to our old way of doing things when we make changes. That’s part of the process, but as long as you’re acknowledging what is happening and continue to try to make changes, you’re doing great!

These surveys have been really eye opening for me to go through. I honestly didn’t have any idea what my family members outside of my immediate family thought or did in terms of food waste, and it was exciting to hear what they’ve been doing and want to do in the future! We have lots of work to do, but everything must start somewhere. I hope that by reading these you have been able to take some snippet of these survey responses and implement them into your own life. Thanks for reading!

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