As we conclude our food waste and climate change series, which covered the sources of greenhouse gas emissions from farm to fork, it's understandable why 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste (FAO).
So, what do we do about this seemingly invisible problem? Luckily, there is a bounty of solutions to prevent food waste from the comfort of your own home. By the end of this blog, you will have the tools to transform your kitchen from a waste generator to a climate caretaker.
Have you ever heard the phrase “the cleanest energy is the energy you never use”? This idea is also applicable to food waste solutions. The best way to reduce food waste is by preventing food from even becoming waste. For example, while we may divert our squishy berries or slimy beets from landfills by using the compost bin, those berries and beets still aren't used for their primary purpose of human consumption.
To model the food waste hierarchy, we should prioritize food waste prevention before diverting food waste. This approach works for all kinds of foods, from freezing your extra herbs to reviving your wilting lettuce. Each sad strawberry or aging apple is an opportunity to try something new in the name of preventing food waste. Sounds pretty peachy, right?
While this all seems easy enough, you might be thinking, how much of an impact does this have? As we saw from this series, waste occurs at every stage of our food’s farm to fork journey. So does it really matter what we do at home? Turns out, the answer is a resounding yes! Of the 931 million tonnes of food waste generated in 2019, 61% came from households (UNEP). Our kitchens combined generate more food waste than anywhere else in the world.
And if that doesn’t send you running to preserve your guac with a squirt of lemon juice, then the wallop on your wallet just might. On average, food waste costs a family of four in the United States an average of $1600 annually (Venkat, 2011). So, creating a prevention-first culture in your kitchen not only mitigates climate change but saves a pretty penny. Who knew stewing up garbage soup wasn’t such a rubbish idea.
To up your unwaste artistry, here are a few of our favorite tools:
- Apeel Store Locator - Each time you buy an Apeel-protected avocado, you can help avoid up to 42 grams of CO2-eq and conserve up to 14 liters of water. Fight food waste, conserve resources, choose Apeel.
- #UnwasteWednesday - Every Wednesday, Apeel posts opportunities to unwaste your fresh fruits and vegetables. Creating a climate-conscious kitchen just became a little bit easier.
- Kroger Chefbot - Have leftover ingredients you want to unwaste but are not sure how? Try Kroger’s smart bot who suggests recipes based on what’s left in your fridge.
- EPA Get Smart: Take the Challenge - Need a data-driven approach to uncover your waste patterns? Try out the EPA’s Get Smart tool where you can track the amount you waste and why.
Our kitchen is more than just a place to prepare food: it’s also a playroom, a drive-through, a cubicle, or a place to gather. It's also an opportunity. A chance to conserve the resources it took to grow, transport, and distribute our fruits and vegetables. A chance to avoid the greenhouse gas emissions generated when we buy more to replace the food we waste. A chance to do one of the most impactful actions to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (Project Drawdown). But most importantly, a chance to create a more sustainable future.
Come unwaste with us. Let’s create a better future for all.
Ready to create a climate-conscious kitchen? Check out some of our food waste solutions by clicking the button below.