I bet I am not the only one that at least once every couple of weeks, should have a look in both the pantry and fridge and stuck afterwards the garbage with items that are far beyond the expiration date. It happens once, it happens twice it can happens every day, especially if you don't keep a track of your edible stuff in your house. Don't hurry up to judge...sometimes you just have only a limited amout of time to do the proper shopping and you can buy 4 boxes of rice in four different food shopping sprees because you are too stressed out to take the right decision with a clean mind. Or you simply forgot that you did it before.
If you look at least at the level of the whole Europe, you are not the only one. According to the European Commission, 89 million tonnes of food are wasted every year only on the territory of the Union. This huge amount is the equivalent of 143 billion euro. You can spend an entire creative afternoon thinking about what can be done with this money.
As a start, you can focus on the household level and start with a short and medium-term plan to improve your household foods management and reduce the amount of unopen or half-opened food landing in the garbage every day. On the medium and long term, it will also help you save money that you can spend on other pleasant delights or to a meal to a fancy restaurant or maybe some new make-up too.
Here are my top 3 tips to keep your waste levels low:
1. Plan your weekly meals
If you are into healthy meals and/or you have a big family and you are busy with work and life for the rest of the day, planning your weekly meals will also help you to have in the house the amount of foods you need only for a 7-day menu. At the beginning of each week, set up a list of the planned meals around the day. Once you have in mind a clear picture of what and how much you need, you can easily create healthy combinations with amounts that eventually can be easily used, long before they cannot be used.
2. Organise your pantry according to the expiration date
It sounds a bit OCD, I know, but especially if you are living in a big house, you may simply forget about what you have and for how long you can avoid using it. A couple of months ago, I bought a couple of Indian ready made powders for preparing traditional foods, but as I put them on the bottom of the pantry, I was only reminded about them when I accidentally stumbled upon them. It was too late to prepare my fast Indian meal, obviously.
3. Think twice before you buy
As in the case of any other purchases, I keep asking myself: do I really need to buy this? Do you really need this truffle butter that you are the only one in the house who fancies it, instead of the normal butter for the sandwiches of the whole family? Obviously it will take more time to finish it and it is quite hard to match with every single kind of food, therefore, you may need long enough time to finish the jar, far beyond the expiration date.
What about you? How do you plan to reduce the level of food waste this year? Any useful tips to share?