Happy Earth Day and welcome to the start of Earth Week, a week that we love so much we try to live year-round! Since its first occurrence in 1970, the Earth Day has gained international momentum as a day to speak out regarding environmental concerns and show support for a clean and healthy planet. It’s a day to highlight where we once were, how far we’ve come, and how much more work we have to do to protect the environment.
This week, we will highlight some key environmental issues we are currently facing and some suggestions for action.
The first issue we’d like to highlight for Earth Day is an issue very close to our hearts: Food Waste. Approximately one third of all food produced worldwide for human consumption gets wasted every year! That’s like leaving the grocery story with three bags and dropping one in the parking lot. Yikes!
Not only is this an inefficient use of resources (see what our CEO had to say about this), but wasted food that ends up in landfills releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas and serious driver of climate change. If food waste was a country, it would be the third guiltiest greenhouse gas emitter!
The sources of food waste are, unfortunately, as plentiful as they are varied. Food waste and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions occur at every stage along the food supply chain: waste can occur in the fields before a crop is even picked, or during post-harvest storage, processing, distribution, and consumption. The majority of this waste comes at the consumer level, which means your actions truly do make a difference.
You should feel inspired, not daunted by this call to action. There is SO much room for improvement that it is actually quite easy for you as an individual to help! Some tips for reducing food waste include:
1) Plan your meals out before you go grocery shopping. This will help ensure that you buy exactly what you need and minimize that wilted kale you swore you were going to cook but just didn’t know what to do with. Apps like NoWaste can help you with this!
2) Meal prep is a busy person’s best friend. You may head to the grocery store on Sunday with lofty aspirations of cooking dinner every night, but sometimes it’s Wednesday night and all you want to do is lay down and order take-out. Preparing meals ahead of time can remove some of the barriers to eating the food you already have, and thus will reduce the amount of food you throw out!
3) Upcycle leftovers and scraps into new meals. This is a real opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Use those zested lemons to make some yummy lemon-infused water, or go for a tried-and-true classic like using those overripe bananas to make some stellar banana bread. We have posted a few ideas for this before, ranging from making use of Halloween pumpkins, to using up extra tomato paste, to upcycling delicious holiday leftovers.
4) Compost what you don’t eat. If you’re lucky to live somewhere that has municipal compost collection, use that green bin! If not, home composting can be an incredibly rewarding and fun experience for the whole family. There are plenty of resources online detailing where to get started. Your home garden will never be happier!
5) Support companies fighting food waste. ReGrained’s mission is centered around fighting food waste through edible upcycling. We’re helping lead a movement with some amazing peers like RIND Snacks, Wize Monkey, Repurposed Pod, Barnana and more.
Even for the biggest problems, there are small steps that we can all take to have a positive impact.
Keep an eye out for more blogs this Earth Week focused on more environmental issues and creative solutions!