How to reduce food waste at home

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reduce food waste
reduce food waste

One of the most shocking and serious paradoxes in the world today is that while hunger is increasing in much of the world, food waste is increasing in another .

It is estimated that one third of all food produced in the world is lost in the chain from producer to consumer.

For all these reasons, the active role of everyone, from distributors, catering companies to consumers, is important to reduce food waste .

If we are all aware we can achieve a fairer and more sustainable world. We cannot forget that behind the food there is also a consumption of resources, from water to all the necessary inputs for its processing and transportation.

For all these reasons, knowing how to reduce food waste is so important.

Why do we need to reduce food waste?

Any food that is discarded or discarded in the supply chain cannot be productively used again as such. This makes food waste so relevant at a time when its production, and its consumption, have multiplied.

As this production depends on the use of resources from the environment, all food waste entails an irreparable loss. With all this, if progress has led to environmental degradation, food waste is one of its causes.

We see it better in figures:

  • Food waste accounts for a third of all food produced .
  • In quantity, the food wasted in the world accounts for about 1,300 million tons a year.
  • Hunger will advance. Reaching 9.6 billion people in 2050 would require three times the resources currently available.

Food waste and climate change

The loss of this huge amount of food in production centers, supermarkets, restaurants or our kitchens has a clear impact on climate change.

Every time food waste occurs:

  • Energy and water are wasted , essential for cultivation, harvesting, transport and processing.
  • Rotting food produces methane, one of the most dangerous components of the greenhouse effect .
  • Food waste generates 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

For all these reasons, the challenge in the face of the increase in the world population is not only to produce more, but also to waste less.

Learn about the Climate Change Law in Spain and its most relevant measures .

Laws against food waste

Beyond good practices and advice such as those supported by the FAO , the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , or the Sustainable Development Goal 12 , sustainable consumption and production.

Spain is one of the last countries, with the draft Law for the Prevention of Food Losses and Waste , approved in July 2022, which is firmly committed to reducing food waste.

This is the first regulation on food waste that is enacted in Spain. Its objective is to reduce the alarming figure of uneaten food that is wasted in Spain: 1,364 million kilos/liters of food, from 31 kilos/liters per person, in the year 2020.

The key points of the law are:

  • The obligation of all companies involved in the supply chain to have a loss and waste prevention plan . The objective is to have a self-diagnosis of its production processes, identify where food waste is produced and set measures to minimize it, but also seek to divert it to other uses.
  • Establishing a hierarchy of priorities . The first will be human consumption through redistribution and donation. For this last step, collaboration agreements will be signed that specify the conditions of collection, transport and storage.
  • The entities that receive donations must guarantee the traceability of the donated products . In no case can they be commercialized.
  • If they cannot be donated, they can be transformed into products such as juices or jams, for example, in the quest to achieve zero waste . When they are no longer fit for human consumption, the preference for use will be, in this order:
    • Animal feed and feed.
    • Industrial by-products already as waste.
    • Obtaining biofuels or compost.
  • The restaurants will have the obligation to facilitate the consumer who can take away the food that he has not consumed , except in all-you-can-eat establishments. For this they must have suitable containers. This initiative will not entail any cost to the consumer.

A series of good practice recommendations are also established:

  • To reduce food waste in food establishments that have sales lines for imperfect or unattractive products- Also to promote sustainable food : the consumption of seasonal , local or organic products.
  • Incentivize the sale of products with the best before or expiration date.
  • On the part of the Government, adapt the dates of preferential consumption to the prevention of waste, through training and informative actions.
  • That the dates of preferential consumption be adjusted up to the maximum that guarantees the adequate quality of the products.
  •  Discover the benefits of consuming seasonal fruits

More food, less waste

Less food loss and waste brings two clear benefits:

  • More efficient use of land.
  • Improvement in the management of water resources.

All this generates a double benefit: in the fight against climate change and in livelihoods, achieving a better distribution of food.

In this sense, although we have seen that the Spanish regulations are recent, the more food, less waste strategy was developed in Spain for almost a decade .

In its latest program, this focused on raising awareness among all the parties involved, specifically focused on points such as knowledge, awareness, collaboration between different economic agents or research and innovation.

Tips to avoid food waste at home and in restaurants

Consumers, therefore, are a fundamental part of the fight against food waste . We must be aware and apply a series of points with which, with very little effort, we will achieve great results.

Plan the purchase

Preparing a list of the foods that are really needed takes some time, but the savings in money and food waste are enormous.

In this planning, not only should you take into account what you have at home and how it can be used, but also if you plan to eat out.

take advantage of leftovers

Many of the leftover foods can have a second life… per meal. Soups, creams, croquettes, sandwiches, etc. are traditional.

Food is not thrown away. In the case of overripe fruits, you can make juices, smoothies or jams.

There are even many recipe websites that offer ideas for using up leftover food and reducing food waste.

Here are some ideas and recipes to take advantage of ripe fruit .

use the freezer

Although buying fresh, seasonal and bulk products , as many establishments already offer, this is compatible with the use of the freezer.

Thanks to the freezer we can preserve many foods and have only what we need at the necessary time.

awareness to others

All these good practices are essential that you promote them with your environment. You can start doing it by sharing this post.

But with this information you will achieve it by showing all the benefits for the family economy and the environment that reducing food waste has.