Reduce Your Environmental Impact with Your Eating Habits

One of the easiest and most impactful ways in which you can lead more eco-friendly lives, business practices and events is through our consumption of food (or lack thereof). What is food waste you ask?

Food Waste: good quality, edible food that is fit for consumption, but still doesn’t get consumed because it is discarded during production, processing, retail or an individual’s eating habits – whether or not after it’s left to spoil or expire.

Basically, it ranges from farmers throwing away edible produce because it’s not “perfect” looking to damages in the processing or transportation and as individuals who throw out spoiled food.

Did you know that the amount of wasted food an average Canadian household is OVER $1,100/year?! That’s about 200kg or the size of a bottle-nosed dolphin worth of food being tossed out!

Apart from obvious ethical and economic reasons of throwing out perfectly good food, why does food waste matter?

When you toss out food, you are not only squandering the resources that are used to grow, produce and distribute food from farmers to consumers, you are also producing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change! Most of the household food waste is actually avoidable (60% to b exact). This is equivalent to about 9.8 million tonnes of carbon or 2.1 million cars on the road.

So how the heck can you reduce our food waste?!

1.     Meal Plan

There’s nothing like finding some “juicy” spoiled lettuce and a rotten lemon in the depths of your fridge. If you’re like me, it makes your cringe because of the foul smell and goopy water. To avoid this in future, it’s helpful to first and foremost ensure that all of your food both in your fridge and pantry are visible. This way it’s easy at first glance to see what you have.

 Second, create a meal plan at the beginning of the week. Once you’ve decided what you will be making, ALWAYS go through your fridge and pantry to see what ingredients you already have before buying more of the same thing (I see you, with your two cartons of milk). Check out this short how-to video for ideas or any of The Home Edit episodes on pantry/kitchen organizational dreams (cue Netflix binge).

Also outlining the meals you’re going to make or recipes you will be utilizing, you will be focused on only purchasing the ingredients that you need. It’s like how they say (whoever they are), never shop on an empty stomach – similarly here, never shop without your list or an idea of what you need!

2.     Accurate numbers and portions

What comes with meal planning, is estimating an accurate number of servings and portions! Whether it’s personal, family gatherings and parties or a large-scale event like a gala, it’s important to have accurate numbers of people in attendance in order to reduce the amount of food that is purchased and potentially thrown out at the end of the night.

Personally, my household tends to double recipes, so that meals last long enough for dinner for two nights or dinner one night and lunch the next.

By following a recipe with set portions, it again reduces the amount of food waste by streamlining your grocery shopping experience. You buy only what you need and far less food is wasted!

3.     Food storage and handling

Finally, how and where you store your food matters! By keeping items in certain areas of the fridge for example, will keep your food fresher and longer.

 A few things to consider in your fridge:

  • The door is the warmest part

  • The lowest level (just above the drawers) is the coldest part

  • The temperature should be 4°C or lower

 Take a look at the image below from the City of Toronto for a better idea of where items should be stored for longevity!

Remember, you can reduce your environmental impact with your eating habits by:

  1. Meal Planning

  2. Having accurate numbers/portions

  3. Food storage and handling

This whole eco-friendly lifestyle is a journey and taking thoughtful steps each day has a HUGE impact. Whether you’re an individual or a business owner there is always a way to be more eco-conscious. It always takes a bit of advanced preparation, but practice makes perfect! And if you’re an entrepreneur looking for ways to make your business eco-friendlier but unsure of where to start, you can always book a FREE 30-minute clarity call!

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