Celebrating World Environment Day

Celebrating World Environment Day: Know Your Food Waste
by Selina Juul, Founder of Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark and Partner of Think.Eat.Save campaign

14% of the global carbon emissions are caused by food waste. Reducing your food waste is your easiest personal effort to minimize your carbon emissions and thus your easiest personal contribution to the better environment. This year, the theme of WED - World Environment Day on June 5th - is the fight against food waste. The FAO/UNEP campaign Think.Eat.Save and we the Partners of the campaign are promoting the good message. But we all need to remember that the fight against food waste mustn’t only be on that very day. In fact, we must concentrate on fighting food waste every day, as much as we can.

Every second Dane has reduced food waste
The movement against the food waste is gaining strength and the campaign work is showing visible results: Our most recent TNS Gallup survey performed by the Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark and Danish Agriculture & Food Council shows that within the last year, every second Dane has reduced his/hers food waste. Especially families with young children have taken up the fight against food waste and showing some serious progress.

While these are splendid news, we cannot sit back and relax – there is yet a lot to be done. Several surveys reveal that consumers do not perceive themselves as food waters. People simply don’t know the definition of food waste and what stop wasting food really means.

We, the food wasters
Most common mistake is buying food sold by bulk discounts (even if you don’t need it), stuffing the food in the back of your fridge, forgetting to use it – and a week or two later, when the food has gone bad, you throw it out. By then, you don’t even consider it as food – you think of that as waste. And surely, by then the good food turned into waste. But maybe it would be a good idea to use your food before it turns bad.

As a consumer, you need know your food waste in order to fight it. So, here are some easy-to-remember tips, which can save you time, money and unnecessary trips to the grocery store.

Know your food waste
First of all, you need to remember that YOU are in control of your grocery shopping - your grocery shopping is not in control of you! »Best before« label does not mean »toxic after«. Stopping your food waste means getting more out of less - and saving your money while doing so. Not bad, huh?

Food waste is:

  • To throw away good edible food.
  • Letting the food »die« in the back of your fridge.
  • Forgetting to use your leftovers.
  • Putting much more food on your plate than you can actually eat.
  • Throwing out top slices of bread, cucumbers, etc.
  • Throwing out wrinkled apples and bananas with spots.
  • Forgetting to »eat up« in the refrigerator/freez­er before you buy something new.
  • Forgetting to use all the food which is bought due to the bulk discounts.
  • Forgetting to empty the food packaging.

And what you can do about it:

  • Keep order in your refrigerator, freezer and kitchen cabinets, putting the oldest items in front.
  • Make shopping lists.
  • Buy only what you need - and use what you have bought.
  • Store and freeze your good surplus food.
  • Be mindful about portion sizes while cooking.
  • Do not put all the food on the dining table at once.
  • Remember to use smaller plates and bowls.
  • Store and freeze your leftovers.
  • Share food with your neighbors and create food sharing communities.
  • Pick your own fruit in your gardens or get your friends to pick them.
  • Donate good surplus food to shelters for homeless people.
  • Spread the word about stop wasting food and encourage positive action everywhere!

You have the power
You see, it’s not really that difficult, and once you get the hang of it, stop wasting food will become a part of your lifestyle. The internationally acknowledged Coach and Speaker Anthony Robbins has once said: “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”

That’s exactly why you ought to try something new, to create a new approach and become aware of your food waste. And while doing so, you would get more money for yourself and more free time.

Remember: do not try to change the world - just try to change yourself. And then the world will follow you!

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