Want to Make Me Cry? Waste A Little More Food.

It matters to know what you have, especially before shopping

Humans. We are the worst.

I mean, we’re the best too. But we’re even more so the worst. The list of reasons behind both can often be considered pros and cons, but today I want to focus on the one con that makes me cringe, cry, and punch the air so hard I eventually start flying.

Food waste.

Each week, many of us do our regular grocery runs. We prance into the store without a list, without a weekly meal plan, and without a budget. We go down each aisle, crashing into others carts, and spending hours comparing the sodium content and saturated fat per ¼ cup. More often than not, we buy things that we already have in our pantry back home. Because we "forgot", we can "use it later", or we’ll “probably finish it before the expiry date”.

This morning before heading to work, I had to throw out an uneaten piece of toast left sitting on my counter (not mine, because I literally eat everything in sight). It made me sick to my stomach knowing that not only was I wasting money on this product, because you know how much I hate wasting money, but I was also adding to a growing environmental problem.

Did you know…

“Every dayin the U.K., folks throw out 7 million slices of bread, 660,000 eggs, 1.2 million sausages, 2.8 million tomatoes, 1.6 million bananas, 700,000 packages of chocolate and 260,000 packages of cheese – that have never been opened.” – WRAP

“In Toronto, taxpayers spend nearly $10 million a year to dispose of food waste that's not composted.” – Toronto Food Policy Council

“Over 30% of fruits and vegetables in North America are thrown away before reaching the supermarket for being cosmetically challenged” - Toronto Food Policy Council

Back when I was 16 years old, I began working my first job as a Deli Clerk at a local grocer. A couple of my good friends worked in the bakery, and we would often hang out on our breaks at work. One day when I went to the back to see my friend, he had been tasked to throw out over 300 apple pies. THREE HUNDRED!

And why? Because they were one day past the “best before” date. As in, they’re still good – but they’re not their best.

Food waste comes in many forms. Whether we decide we cooked too much and won’t finish the leftovers, or we purchase something and forget about it as it rots in the back corner of our refrigerator. Our carelessness has caused environmental and economical problems worldwide.

According to TriplePundit.com, almost 50 million Americans face “food insecurity” each year. Meaning, while you threw away that extra piece of toast you just couldn’t finish *feels extremely guilty*, one of your neighbors can barely afford a slice of bread.

As much as you may think I’m exaggerating or trying to use fear and guilt to change your mind set on food waste, this is a growing problem that seems to be forgotten among all of the other issues facing today’s society.

So here are a few new challenges for my (favorite) readers:

  • Make a list. Just because you can afford the extra food, does not mean you need it. Be realistic in your household size and grocery needs while deciding how much to purchase.

  • Compost your food. By avoiding tossing spoiled food that you will not be eating, or those apple cores we will just throw in the trash, try to help the environment by taking part in going green. This is something I will personally be taking part in, because I seriously suck at it!

  • Eat your leftovers! Please, I know that there are some people out there that “just aren’t fans of leftovers”, but let’s get real. If it was good last night, what makes you think it won’t be good the next day? If you absolutely cannot imagine eating them, then probably make less? There are cookbooks that give you measurements for 1 or 2 servings. Crazy, I know.

  • Organize your fridge and freezer. One of the best ways to keep your food from being forgotten or left behind to spoil is by better organizing your fridge. Take it from someone who hates when something isn’t on the right shelf. It matters to know what you have, especially before shopping.

What are your thoughts on food waste and what do you do to prevent this problem? Let me know in the comments!