Normally, we can waste up to 40 per cent of the food we buy. During the festive season our food wastage increases by an additional, and staggering, 25 per cent!
Just think, during the festive season, we waste more food than we buy!
Karen Heron, CEO and co-founder at food waste composting company Earth Probiotic has a few tips on how to reduce our waste (and carry these lessons into the New Year as well).
Reduce choices – If you are hosting an event, prevent over-catering by reducing food choices. This doesn’t mean your family and friends will leave your dinner hungry; it’s really about us humans not over piling our plates. In general, our eyes are always, ‘too big for your stomach’.
Buy less more frequently – Food can go off pretty quickly. And is also liable to hide behind a few jars of pickle at the back of the bottom shelf in your fridge. So, plan your meals and buy according to the plan – don’t buy for those ‘just maybe and in case and what if’ imaginary cases. There’s always a store open near you.
Plan and implement – Men shouldn’t shop! Research has shown that they are less likely to stick to a plan than women (and they’re also terrible at making lists). Write down a shopping list and stick to it.
Buy local and buy seasonal – Not only will you be supporting your local farmer and manufacturer but you also will reduce waste. The fact is that the further food travels the higher the wastage along the way. Buying food that is in season generally means that it is local. Non-seasonal food comes from somewhere else and thus has a larger waste factor attached (not to mention the carbon footprint of the transportation itself).
Get your storage right – That old take way in its loose-fitting polystyrene shell is not going to keep your chips ready for lunch the next day. Buy appropriate containers (preferably glass with silicon lids which can be reused again and again). And also store in the right place. The modern fridge has been designed to store food for longer periods – but only in the appropriate sections.
Get creative with leftovers – In our household, we always over-cook stews and curries. For us, these types of foods are better the next day and are also easily frozen. We are also surprised at how few people make stock – this is the best use of waste vegetable off-cuts, bones and that old chicken carcass. Before you even create the menu, think ahead of how you can preserve your leftovers and create these new meals? Numerous online websites are offering fabulous creative ideas for repurposing leftovers.
Recycle & compost – As a last resort, once you’ve reduced and reused, you can compost your food waste. Food waste is a valuable resource for soil and composting this using bokashi and/or a worm farm enables you to recycle all your food waste back into plant-available nutrients for your soil. Bokashi composting is not your normal composting as you can also add cooked and uncooked meat, small bones, seafood and dairy. Ultimately it allows you to compost much more waste generated in your home which, ordinarily, would not be suitable for the compost heap. It is a fermentation system where food waste is layered in closed bins with a microbe mix (‘bokashi’). The microbes activate and ferment food waste. After fermentation, food waste can be trenched under the soil, composted with garden waste, or fed to earthworms.
Bokashi can also be used on your December holidays if you are going away camping, or to a self-catering venue to manage your food waste. Campers, caravanners, and self-caterers are constantly faced with struggles on managing their food waste in a clean and non-smelly way.