Food waste is a huge problem. 60% of all food produced is wasted in Canada – that is 35.5 MILLION tonnes! See here for the full report from Second Harvest about the Crisis of Food Waste. There are many things that can be done to reduce food waste and it starts with each of us. Here are some small steps we can make to help reduce food waste:
1. only Buy What You Need
Sounds simple, right? Only buy the food that you need and try to avoid those “just in case” or impulse sale purchases. Check to see if the 3 for $1.00 lemons mean you need to buy 3 for the discount. Some supermarkets display this only to get you to buy more when in fact you can buy one and still take advantage of the discount. At times, shelling out a little more is worth is so you buy only what you need and reduce the risk of food spoilage. Meal planning has been all the rage recently and for good reason – it is a fantastic way to save time and to reduce unnecessary purchases as well.
2. Buy in Bulk
Along the same lines as buying what you need, buying in bulk is another great alternative to try. Want to try a new ingredient you are not sure if you will like? Don’t want to commit to buying a huge bag of Masa to make tortillas when you only eat tacos once every few months? (Guilty as charged – I still have a huge bag of it that I need to go through!) Check out your local bulk food store so you can buy as much or as little as you need. Bulk Barn has an awesome bring your own container program which means less waste (plus, you often get discounts for bringing your own container too – enjoy 20% off when you do until Jan 29 2020 – just sign up for their emails here)
3. Buy More Frozen and Canned Produce
Frozen and canned produce often get a bad reputation for not being as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Good news! Many have refuted this misconception. Frozen and canned produce can help you enjoy out-of-season fruit and vegetables without the hefty price tag, plus they keep much longer! I tend to prefer canned goods over frozen as they are housed in recyclable packaging (Check out my post Plastic Free July where I talk more about plastic-free grocery options). Be sure to check the label to make sure they don’t have excessive amounts of added sugars and salt. Any and all types of beans are my favourite to have on hand!
4. Be a Food Rescuer!
There is always a dark little corner of the supermarket’s produce section that house battered and bruised fruits and vegetables. I have gotten into the habit of perusing the sad produce section for anything I may need. It may take a critical eye to see what you can salvage but there are some amazing deals to be had on produce that are just as nutritious ($1 for almost two pounds of green beans, anyone?)
Along the same lines, there are countless ways to revitalize sad looking produce that you may already have in your fridge. Got limp celery and carrots? Soak them in water to crisp them back up! Wilted herbs and spring onions? Cut off the ends and dunk them in water and watch them perk back to life. Use random veggie odds and ends or veggie scraps and make your own vegetable stock! More on a future post 🙂
Another great way is to use the Flashfood app – they partner with local supermarkets to offer steep discounts of produce and grocery items that are about to expire. I picked up a bag of hamburger buns for 97 cents that were “expiring” in three days. The buns were gone within 2 days and just as soft and squishy as the full price ones. (… more expiry and best before dates on another post!). If you’re interested in Flashfood, click here to sign-up using my referral to receive $5 off!
There you have it! Congratulations on making it to the last Monday of January. I hope the last 4 weeks have provided you with some inspiration to live a more waste-free and sustainable lifestyle. What were some of your favourite green living tips?