With increased global fertility rates and a higher life expectancy, global populations are expected to rise to 9.7 billion by 2050. That’s a 2.4 billion person increase over about 35 years. With all these extra people there are going to be more mouths to feed. The question is, how can our planet sustain that many people at our current rate? The reality is we can. However, in order to do so we need to stop wasting food at each level of production. Nearly 40% of food produced is never eaten.
Food is wasted on every level of production. Fruit that doesn’t pass the beauty standard is disposed of before it reaches the grocery store. Cookies about to expire are thrown out. Leftovers go bad in the fridge. You don’t finish your meal and throw it out. All this disposing will not help us feed a population of nine billion and also has major environmental, economic, and social implications. For instance, the carbon emitted by food production is enough that if it was its own country, it would be “the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.” Food waste is also a social issue as an estimated 805 million people go to bed hungry. While all these facts are incredibly intimidating, there are simple ways to reduce your own personal food waste that will help solve these issues. For more information I recommend watching the documentary Just Eat It, which is available to rent on Amazon for about $4.00.
8 Ways to Decrease Food Waste
1.Try Gleaning! Gleaning is the collection of excess fresh food from farms, grocers, or restaurants. It often requires going out and picking the extra crops that were left behind in a field after initial harvesting.
2.Take smaller portions, you can always go back for more. Using smaller plates can help in doing this.
3.Plan out meals and buy only what you need at the grocery store
4.Save and eat leftovers. This includes what you don’t finish when you go out to eat.
5.Store food properly. Check out this link to learn what food goes where.
6.Treat expiration and sell by dates as guidelines. These often indicate food quality and not food safety. Use your sense of smell and sight to judge.
7.Donate to food banks if you find food in your house that you know you aren’t going to eat.
8.If something has gone bad, or you really aren’t going to eat it, compost.