Stop food waste; spare the planet

The City is asking the public avoid waste when planning holiday meals. File picture: Ian Landsberg/Independent Newspapers

Many of us are guilty of making more food than we can possibly eat during the festive season, which is a problem not only for our waistlines but also for the planet, says the City.

Food waste adds noticeably to the greenhouse gas emissions that aggravate climate change, says the City.

“When food is wasted, not only are valuable resources such as water, energy and land wasted, but when leftovers and scraps end up in landfill, they produce a potent greenhouse gas that can accelerate climate change,” a City statement said.

Smart shopping and thoughtful meal preparation can help avoid overstocking and excess consumption.

There are several things you can do to reduce food waste during the holiday season:

• Plan meals and shopping lists: This way, you can avoid overbuying and ensure you only purchase what you need.

• Buy locally and seasonally: Support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation by choosing locally-grown and seasonal produce.

• Proper storage: Store food correctly to extend its shelf life. Ensure refrigerated items are kept at the appropriate temperature and use the first-in, first-out method when organising your pantry.

• Be mindful of your fridge/freezer capacity, especially in the time of fluctuating load-shedding, when stocking up on fresh fruit and vegetables, to minimise unnecessary spoiling of unused vegetables,

• Portion control: Be mindful of how much food you cook and serve. Start with smaller portions and allow guests to serve themselves second helpings if desired. This will minimise leftovers and reduce waste.

• Be creative with re-using leftover food: There are options to make leftovers into new and exciting dishes to enjoy, rather than just throwing them out.

• Composting: Consider composting at home. Composting food scraps not only reduces landfill waste but also creates nutrient-rich compost that can be used to nourish plants and gardens.