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The answer to the question of how not to waste food is not difficult at all, and it will allow you to use the food to the end and reduce household expenses. We throw away mainly because we buy too much and we are unable to match the amount of food we buy to our actual needs. We advise you on how to reduce food waste, use it to the end and save money at the same time.

Food waste is primarily a problem for the inhabitants of Europe and North America - each of them throws away 95-115 kg of food a year, while an inhabitant of Sub-Saharan Africa only 6-11 kg. The scale of food waste in the United States is enormous. This is most likely due to the fact that food is relatively cheap, the cheapest ever, and not very valuable. The average American spends only 5.5 percent of its income on food products, while German - 11.4 percent, French - 13.6 percent, Italian - 14.4 percent, Mexican - 24.1 percent, and Kenyan - 45. 9 percent.

How not to waste food? Food is thrown away during production

There is a dramatic food shortage in many regions of the world, while 1.3 billion tonnes of food are landfilled annually in highly developed and developing countries. This is a very big problem in Europe, and Poland is in the 5th place on the list of countries where the most throws away.

Often bought products don't even get opened. In Poland, 9 million tonnes of food are wasted annually, of which 2 million tonnes are thrown away by individual consumers. Monthly, per person, it costs us PLN 25-45, which means that with rational food management, a family of 4 could save PLN 1-2 thousand annually. Food is wasted at every level of the supply chain:

Products with a short shelf life - vegetables and fruit, meats, dairy products and bread - are most often sent to the trash.

  • in production and cultivation,
  • in post-harvest processing and storage,
  • during processing and packaging,
  • in distribution to individual customers and in restaurants.

Throwing food away is not only unethical and uneconomical, but also translates into the food market and economy. The scale of the problem is so great that the OrganizationThe United Nations has set one of its goals for 2015-2030 to reduce food waste.

The situation may improve due to the growing awareness of societies (as many as 60 percent of Poles admit to wasting food, i.e. noticing the problem), as well as more rational behavior of producers and large food sellers, who begin to hand over unsold surplus, e.g. seasonal to Food Banks cooperating with local organizations and providing food to people in need.

How to reduce food throwing away? Plan your shopping

As long as we have no influence on food waste in the entire supply chain, we can control this phenomenon as individual conscious consumers. There are many useful methods to help you make optimal purchases and reduce food waste.

1. Only buy what you need

Before making larger purchases, it is best to review the contents of the kitchen shelves and the refrigerator to avoid duplicate products and, consequently, throw them away. Most often, we throw away food because we buy too much, we are unable to judge how much food we really need and we get caught by ads such as "take 3 and pay for 2".

2. Plan meals in advance

It's easier to do rational and economical grocery shopping when we know what to eat in the near future - at least for main meals.

3. Make a shopping list

Shopping with a list is faster (because we don't think so long about what to choose) and more economical (it is more difficult to fall into the trap of unknowingly putting it into the basket). Preparing a list of products for pre-planned meals is a great way to buy as much food as you can actually eat. If the traditional paper and pen feel too archaic, there are many smartphone apps available where you can create letters. Some of them suggest in which of the stores you visit there is a promotion for a given product from your shopping list.

How to reduce food waste? Take care of proper food storage

1. Check expiry date

It's good to know what the terms at the expiry date mean. "Use by" is found on non-durable products, such as dairy products, and means that the product is unfit for consumption after the specified date. "Best before" says that after the packaging date has passed, the product can still be eaten, but may lose some of its properties. Do not stock up on perishable and loose itemsshort shelf life.

2. Store food appropriately

Vegetables are best kept in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator, the meat should be frozen if you do not plan to use it right away, and cold meats bought by weight in a plastic bag should be put into a box or wrapped in paper. Also check the temperature in the refrigerator and adjust it to the amount of items you keep.

3. Use vacuum packaging

Vacuum pouches and boxes that allow you to store food without air access, extend its freshness and durability 2-3 times. These packages can be purchased at large supermarkets and home improvement stores.

4. Use a freezer

If you have prepared too much food (which can happen especially during Christmas, Easter), nobody wants to eat it anymore, freeze it for later. When you have bought too much fruit, cut it into pieces, divide it into portions and freeze it. They will be perfect forsmoothie . Don't be afraid of freezing. It is the least invasive method of food storage, which allows to preserve most of the nutritional values ​​of products.

Read also: "Best before" and "Best before" - how to read the expiry dates on the packages?

How not to waste food: 4 main rules
  1. THINK BEFORE THROWING : think, check what else you can do with the product.
  2. FREEZE : this is one of the best ways to store food; It works well both with fresh products and ready meals.
  3. PROCESS : cooking with scraps not only prevents food from being thrown away, but also saves money and is very zero waste.
  4. SHARE : give food to your neighbors or colleagues, or give it to aid centers, eateries, eateries (these are points where you can share and exchange food) and shelters.

How to reduce food waste? Use leftovers

1. Accept imperfection

We are used to buying only perfect looking vegetables and fruits. The result is that large amounts of food remain on the farmland, which is nutritionally complete but does not meet the standards of size, shape and color. In the United States, 10 million tons of food are wasted in this way each year. Organizations are established that sell ugly vegetables and fruits, 20-50 percent cheaper than in stores, which is to encourage us to pay less attention to their appearance.

2.Use leftovers

Throwing the leftovers out of dinner is a common practice in many homes. However, you can use them, e.g. when eating for dinner, use the leftover meat for soup, add vegetables to an omelette, fry stale bread in an egg and make French toast. There are many possibilities, and the only limitation is the resistance to using leftovers.

3. Be flexible with your recipe

To make a good dish, you don't need to follow the ingredient recipe, especially if there are lots of ingredients. It's worth being inspired by the recipe, but cooking in such a way as to use what you find in the fridge.Zucchiniinstead ofeggplant , onion instead of leek, walnuts instead of pecan, pork instead of beef. Of course, the resulting taste will be slightly different, but this will allow you to reduce throwing food into the garbage and save a bit at the same time.

How to reduce food waste? Practical tips

  • pack fresh herbs into bags and freeze;
  • herbs that lose their freshness chop, mix with olive oil and spices, pour into an ice cube mold and freeze; use as a seasoning, e.g. for stewed vegetables;
  • translate cold cuts and cheese from foil wrappers to paper or a paper-lined plastic box;
  • lettuce leaves, dry thoroughly, store in a container lined with a dry paper towel that will absorb the moisture - a factor that accelerates lettuce deterioration;
  • add herbs, spices, some water and vinegar to the jar with some mayonnaise, stir vigorously and use as a sauce for the dish;
  • pour the excess soup or sauce into an airtight bag or box and put it in the freezer;
  • make toasts or croutons of stale bread;
  • refresh stale pastries by heating them in the oven;
  • Keep herbs, asparagus or chives slightly immersed in water;
  • Brush the cheese with a thin layer of butter to keep it from drying out in the refrigerator.

How to be zero waste? In the program Drogowskazy (Eska Rock), Michał Poklękowski promotes the fight against waste. Sylwia Sikorska and Anna Komar, co-founders of the Polish Zero Waste Association give a lot of practical advice to the audience:

See the gallery of 9 photos

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