By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

Studies have discovered that people in Metro Manila send around 21.5 million tons of food scraps to garbage dumps and landfills every year. The decomposition of the waste produces methane gas which is the most harmful greenhouse gas there is.

According to an article from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, wasting food can result to less food available for all. It is also a major squandering of resources that also adds to  the pollution of the environment.

Moreover, Move for Hunger, a non-profit organization that mobilizes the relocation industry to fight hunger and reduce food waste, said that agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the water used worldwide. Thus, food waste represents a huge amount of water resources.

The non-profit organization also likened throwing out one kilogram of beef to wasting 50,000 liters of water that was used to produce meat. Similarly, 1,000 liters of water are also wasted through one glass of milk that was left unconsumed.

Basically, it’s like throwing away all the hard work of the farmers and the blessings from the earth.

In order to lessen the food waste that comes from both home and commercial kitchens, Annie Pascual-Guerrero presented a simple way in her book entitled “An A-Z Guide for a Green Chef.” This is by following the well-known mantra of the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

The first step is to reduce the food items that are purchased. Food takes a lot of resources and energy to make. Here are some tips to help begin the process:

  1. Purchasing less means disposing less  
  2. Make a menu plan or a simple list of ingredients along with its quantity to avoid overbuying
  3. Buy items that have still have some time before it expires. This will give it more shelf life.
  4. Look for seasonal items in quantity that can be stored or shared with others.
  5. Support local by buying produce from local farmers or brands.
  6. Prioritize the quality of your purchase.
  7. Avoid disposable packaging when possible.

Reducing the amount of food items you purchase is just the beginning in the 3R mantra. It helps keep people from getting more than what they actually need and even wasting more than what they should.

The next step in the mantra to be discussed is to reuse produce if possible. It is one of the best practices for a cleaner environment because not only does it save us from buying new items, it also keeps us from using wasteful products.

(Source: Annie Pascual-Guerrero, An A-Z Guide for a Green Chef, Culinary Foundation, Inc., Quezon City, Philippines, 2012)