Jess’ Post: Food Waste on the Mind!

Howdy everyone!


10300973_10203935397816058_6315722911847948090_nFor this week’s blog post I’m going to continue sharing answers to the food questions I posed to my family, friends, and colleagues about their views and experiences with food waste. This week, the questions I’m going to share are as follows:

Q 5: Have you taken any steps to reduce the amount of food you waste? If so, what have you done?

  • “The only steps I take are to only buy the food I need within two or three days. I don’t buy fresh veggies in bulk for the week because I know I won’t use all of them in time”

  • “I’ve tried to educate myself about best practices for storing different types of food, such as fruits and vegetables and grains. I used to save vegetable scraps but it became more of a burden for my housemates and me, so now they get composted. I’ve also become a fan of mashed foods like weird salads or burger patties made from leftovers”

  • “Yes, I have tried shopping less often, but then family members complain that we don’t have on hand what they want. If I only needed to buy groceries for myself and my preferences, I wouldn’t be forced to eat out as often or throw away as much groceries. Calibrating food purchase decisions for three different eaters with different preferences while working 45-50 hour weeks is a job I will never succeed at, but I’m the only one willing and able to do it”

  • “I have really tried to push the boundaries of my assumptions of when food is still okay to eat. I think that especially in America and the developed world we use visual cues to assess our food, and often waste perfectly good food because of small blemish or and a part that has gone bad”

  • “Keep on top of what’s in my fridge”

  • “Do not throw food out just because it has a bruise or looks funny. You can save bones, trimmings, etc. and use them to make stocks and broths”

  • “CANNING EVERYTHING”11828604_10207284553742863_3566508429023812531_n

These are all amazing ways to reduce food waste, and some important points to bring up as to why it’s also a challenge to reduce food waste sometimes. The good news is, there are so many different ways to reduce how much waste you create and dispose of.

Q 6: Can you think of any solutions or steps that could be taken to reduce food waste at home, town, state, and country levels?

  • “One thing that would affect all levels, from home to country, would be greater education about food waste and making people aware of the food that they’re wasting. At home and town levels, making composting more accessible to people (a la Mr. Fox) would be nice to see. I think that the state and federal levels would be best suited to tackling food waste at restaurants and similar places by some combination of setting up a way for businesses to compost waste and educate and/or requiring them by law to direct their food waste to a certain place”

  • “I doubt there are simple solutions. And some of the solutions involve other problem areas. For instance…individual portion sizes creates more waste. Planning ahead takes time (I have 2 kids, a dog, and run 2 small businesses…I have no time). I do think education about freezing foods could be beneficial. I think real education about leftover could be useful. For instance, [my wife] doesn’t eat leftovers beyond a couple of days. I think that time could easily be doubled or tripled and be fine. I also think making simpler meals and preparing foods that extend beyond ‘theme’ could work. For instance, and avocado garnish could be used in Mexican and over fresh fish. Maybe the avocado wouldn’t be completely consumed in it’s entirety in 1 meal, but could be in 2 during the same week”

  • “Education. Educate people on how to store food and how long shelf lives are instead of relying on stamped dates. Educate people on portion sizes so they stop cooking more than they need and throwing the rest out. Education about how to creatively use left overs. I think the US culture needs to change to reduce food waste from restaurants and stores because so much of that food could be donated to people in need, but it seems that many places would rather make profit or toss it than give it away”

  • “Community compost bins that are easily accessible. But that’s only helpful if the food isn’t eaten. I’m not sure how to get people to actually eat everything that can be”

  • “Teach people how to cook food. Eliminate legislation making commercial compost difficult. Encourage respect for food”

  • “I think that options that demonstrate how much food waste there is in a very visual way are really important. I think that just like regular waste, when you throw something away it is just gone and you are not forced to see the consequences of your actions. But in times when all the food waste is collected and you can visually see the amount it is very influential”

  • “I think the restaurants would be the place to start. Restaurants are the biggest “marketers” if food… Perfect, flawless and gift wrapped. I’m sure there is a lot of opportunity in collecting wasted food from restaurants for a better purpose”

  • “Selling ugly food at lower prices could potentially help out lower income, food insecure families and individuals.  It would also be that much less in a landfill”

  • “If fancy grocery stores offered free samples of “day-old” stuff and less than photogenic produce, we might be able to move consumers from the idea that all food has to be perfect and unblemished to be nutritious and delicious”

So! I obviously posted more responses than normal, but that’s because these are all really great and important ideas and facts! Grocery stores could reduce their waste and even more importantly to them, how much they spend on products, if they took the time to actually sell all of their products! Doing these surveys has made me want to contact local grocery stores to see if they would do these sorts of demonstrations, and if not, I want to learn why. That is where the changes can start to happen. The source! It could be a policy, a law, or just them not thinking to do a day-old food display!

Next week I’ll be focusing on how fixing food waste problems might be able to solve other problems we have and reasons for why people waste food. That’s all for now-

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