What are we wasting for: Ten tips to reduce your food waste at home

Featured photo by alleksana from Pexels

By Vina Medenilla

In celebration of the first International Day of Awareness for Food Loss and Waste Reduction, Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF) Philippines held a webinar entitled ‘Save Our Food, Save Our Planet’ to spread awareness in combating the rising issue on food waste by initiating change within our homes. 

Food wastes mostly end up in landfills and they mark drastic effects on our environment because they emit methane, a strong greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. 

In Metro Manila alone, there is about 2, 175 tons of food waste every day, which according to the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), every Filipino wastes one tablespoon or 14 grams of rice daily. 

Food loss, as discussed by Rayne Roque, Sustainable Consumer Specialist of WWF Philippines, refers to the food lost in the supply chain between the producers such as the farms and the market like groceries and the marketplaces. Food waste, on the other hand, is the food lost after customers have purchased them in the market. These are the food wasted in households, which may occur before, during, or after preparation of meals. 

To help lessen food waste, here are ten things that you can do at home:

Give ugly produce a chance. Unusual fruits or veggies does not mean they’re ugly and substandard. As per Roque, these produce can still be as nutritious and appetizing as the normal-shaped ones. Buying the ‘ugly’ produce at the market will save them from being thrown in the trash, and eventually in the landfill.

Create a shopping list. Aside from it being organized, creating a shopping list will help you get the adequate amount of food you need so you won’t end up purchasing too much. “Our aim should be to buy just enough food that will just be enough for us to consume,” says Roque.

Plan your meal. For you to know the amount of ingredients and food you’ll need in weeks or in a month, plan your meals ahead to save money, time, and energy. This will keep you on track and will prevent you from discarding more waste.

Check your storage. Along with planning your meal is checking your pantry. Roque says that this will not only save your money, but will also prevent food spoilage. A technique that can help you with this is a system called ‘First in, First out’ (FIFO), which means that the first food that you purchased must be the first thing you must use. Another is ‘First expiry, First out’ (FEFO), which means arranging the goods depending on their expiry date. This way, you can ensure safety in preparing your food at all times.

Know your serving sizes. Knowing how much you and your family consume will help you determine how much food you will need to buy. If you have kids at home, you can engage them in food preparation and teach them about the importance of finishing their meals. Through this, they can have a deeper appreciation of the food that goes into their system. For teens, allow them to get their own serving so they can have the freedom to control and get how much they would eat. You can also check out DOST-FNRI for a food guide on every age group.

Be creative with your next meal. One way to alleviate food waste is to be creative in preparing meals as well. You can use the leftover ingredients to create other tasty dishes. Turn fruits and veggies into jams, pies, or even chips. Explore and learn other recipes, which you have the freedom to go about either through the internet or books. 

Share excess food. There are many people who are hardly making ends meet in order to have something served on their tables, especially amid this pandemic. Share your extra food with others instead of throwing them into the trash. When giving, just make sure that the food that you’ll offer is clean, edible, and safe to eat. 

Start a home garden. Another way to reduce food waste is to start a home garden. You can plant and regrow food scraps like lettuce or garlic without having a huge land. You can take the bottom part of romaine lettuce, put in a clean plastic container, immerse with water, and in weeks or months, you’ll produce another head of lettuce. You can also sow garlic cloves in soil and wait for them until they develop roots after a week or so. This way, you are also making yourself self-sufficient while saving the earth from the increasing food waste. Other easy to grow crops that you can plant and harvest within a month are kangkong, alugbati, tomato, kulitis, pechay, leeks, and sweet potato tops. 

Make compost. Apart from regrowing food scraps at home, one can also opt to turn food waste into compost. There are different types of composting methods, but all of its output can be used as fertilizer for your plants. You can compost fruit peels, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and leftover food rather than letting them pass into the landfills. Through composting, you can give the nutrients back to the soil. 

Share these tips with others. Finally, by spreading the word and influencing others through actions, you can make a change in diminishing food waste. 

Roque ends with a quote from the Zero Waste Community saying, “We do not need a handful of people doing it perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” 

Watch the webinar here

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Vina Medenilla
Vina Medenilla is a content producer for Agriculture Monthly magazine. She is a graduate from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Fashion, photography, and travel are some of the things she loves. For her, connection with nature is essential to one’s life.

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