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A look at the environmental impact of food waste and easy ways to reduce it in the kitchen

Did you know food waste is closely linked to globalisation? Picture: Pexels/ Ray Piedra

Did you know food waste is closely linked to globalisation? Picture: Pexels/ Ray Piedra

Published Apr 27, 2022

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Did you know food waste is closely linked to globalisation? Food waste is the major contributor to greenhouse gas in turn to climate change.

Many of us don’t realise how much food we waste at some point in time. For instance, think about the days when we cook more than what we could eat or the milk that is left too long inside the refrigerator.

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When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it.

And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane - a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.

What causes food waste?

Food waste occurs when edible food is intentionally discarded by consumers after the food spoils or goes past the expiration date. At times, food waste can also happen due to oversupply in markets. On top of that, retailers tend to reject a lot of food because it does not conform to their quality and aesthetic standards.

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That said, as the world’s population continues to grow, our challenge should not be how to grow more food, but to feed more people while wasting less of what we already produce. So, how do you as a cook reduce it in the kitchen? Below chef Tamzyn Ehlers shares a few tips on how we can reduce food waste in your kitchens.

  • Recycle as much as you can. Food waste can be used to make compost, given to pig farmers for feed. Have assigned bins for plastic, paper, tins, and food waste and recycle them accordingly.
  • Make use of common throw-away products such as chickpea brine for egg replacements, drying out and crushing eggshells for a nutritional supplement, and make candied treats from fruit skins or chips out of potato skins.
  • Re-use the packaging of products such as tins for utensil holders, plastic containers for storage, or coffee jars for decorative or preserving purposes.
  • Make fruit preserves or pickled vegetables that are close to their expiry date to avoid having to discard them.
  • Create grocery lists before shopping as you can avoid buying unnecessary overflow of products and having to throw them away. Do not buy fresh produce too long in advance and ensure correct storage of products to prevent them from expiring quicker.

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