Reduce Food Waste By Eating Leftovers and Scraps
Food waste is a massive problem around the world. Nearly one third of all food produced globally ends up wasted each year. This has huge environmental, social, and economic impacts. As individuals, one of the best ways we can reduce food waste is by fully utilizing the food we buy – including eating leftovers and using scraps creatively. In this article, I’ll discuss strategies for reducing personal food waste by getting the most out of what you purchase.
Finish and Eat Leftovers
Leftovers are one of the easiest ways to reduce food waste. Often when cooking a meal, there are extra portions leftover. Instead of tossing them out, make an effort to eat them in the following days. Here are some tips:
Properly store leftovers – Let food cool before refrigerating in airtight containers. This prevents spoilage.
Eat within 3-5 days – For optimal freshness and food safety, eat leftovers within 3-5 days. Freeze any extras you won’t eat in that timeframe.
Get creative – Jazz up leftovers with new sauces, spices, veggies, etc. Fancify them into new dishes.
Plan ahead – When cooking, make extra portions on purpose to have pre-made lunches or dinners for later days.
With a bit of planning, you can reduce your food waste dramatically by finishing leftovers.
Repurpose Unused Parts and Scraps
Oftentimes when preparing ingredients like vegetables, fruits, grains, etc – there are unused scraps or parts leftover. Instead of tossing them in the bin, get creative and repurpose them! Here are some ideas:
Vegetable scraps – Use parts like stems, leaves, ends, peels, etc for broths, stocks, sauces, soups, smoothies, juices or compost.
Bread crusts – Make breadcrumbs, croutons, bread pudding, or used for thickening stews. Also great for compost.
Fruit peels – Use citrus and melon peels to make fragrant drinks, syrups, candies, or dehydrate for seasonings. Compost the rest.
Herb stems – Stems from herbs like rosemary, thyme and cilantro can be used to flavor stocks, sauces, dressings and more before composting.
Bones and carcasses – Boil down into bone broth, which can be used to make soups, stews, sauces.
With a bit of creativity in the kitchen, you can get a lot more use out of ingredients that would otherwise be tossed out. This helps cut down on food waste.
Compost Food Scraps
For food scraps and parts you can’t repurpose, composting is the next best option. Compost is a mixture of decaying organic matter that provides nutrient-rich fertilizer for gardens. Here’s how to start composting your food scraps:
Set up or purchase a compost bin outdoors. Create compost piles by layering food scraps with yard waste.
Collect food waste like fruit and veggie peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, spoiled produce, etc. Do not add meat, dairy or oily foods.
Mix and aerate the compost regularly. In 6-12 months, you’ll have nutritious compost for your garden!
Composting gives food scraps new life – keeping them out of landfills and reducing your waste footprint.
Reducing personal food waste is an easy and impactful way to cut down on needless waste. By fully utilizing ingredients through eating leftovers, repurposing scraps creatively, and composting the rest – you can get the most out of your groceries while minimizing waste. With planning and some clever kitchen tricks, it’s simple for individuals to make a big difference in the fight against food waste.