Approximately 31% of the food harvested in this world ends up being wasted, instead of getting consumed. This staggering statistic is even more mind-numbing when the cost of labor, fuel, water, and time, that is put into growing the food is considered. Beyond our valuable resources being misused, when food is thrown away, it directly contributes to world hunger. Sadly, World hunger is still a growing problem currently in 2017. 1 out of 9 people go hungry because they do not have enough food to eat. Bearing this distressing information in mind, it only seems ethical to put all food you have to use, just as the 795 million hungry people would. When all these consequences behind food waste are put into context, that rotting carrot in your fridge means more than just wasted money.
Food waste happens for many reasons, one being that consumers are encouraged by media and other outputs to unconsciously reach for the freshest and most attractive product available. The desire that consumers have to eat only the most appealing food, leads to older food rotting and eventually getting disposed of. Although one could make the argument that the wasted food can be composted and given a new purpose, the expenditures and environmental resources still go to waste, as the product was not consumed and eaten.
Ironically enough, the food that is looked upon as not being alluring enough to eat, may be more nutritionally beneficial to consume. Evidence points towards the possibility of misshapen, marked, scabbed, or blistered produce containing more antioxidants and tasting sweeter than ‘normal’ looking produce. Think of these fruits and veggies with odd appearances as strong fighters against various disease and pests. So, the ‘stronger’ the produce, the more nutrients it possesses to overcome those stressors through their growth. Sadly, food waste cannot be solved by simply ending food discrimination, as wasted food will still materialize.
The other major factor that leads to food waste is forgetting to put purchased food to use before rotting occurs. Under planning and overbuying are the main reasons that most households continuously find molding food in the back of their fridge. Ending this senseless waste is incredibly easy, as all it entails is preparation. Take the time to plan and write out every meal for the week, and the ingredients involved. Then, when grocery shopping, purchases will be limited to necessity only, versus overcompensating for the unknown.
As is true for most of living sustainably, taking the time to slow down and think each purchase through will be the saving grace to not only your wallet, but more importantly, the environment. For most, food is taken for granted when it really should be looked upon as sacred, for without it we all cease to exist. Do your part to make a change by putting an end to food waste by taking these small simple steps. Because, it really is bigger than just one carrot going to waste.
(For more information on how to properly store, cook, and revive food visit Save The Food)