Clean up your act – chew on these seven doable hacks to reduce food waste at home
This might come as a shock to you. Did you know Singaporeans generated 791,000 tonnes of food waste in 2016? That’s equivalent to the weight of 3,500 MRT trains! And Electrolux found out that we collectively trash S$200 million worth of food and drinks every year. While we’ve talk about making concrete changes to be plastic-free and zero-waste before, we can also fix this food crisis with a few simple and totally doable hacks.
1. Make a meal plan
It helps to think ahead. Plan your week and be realistic about it – if you are going to eat out three out of the seven days (you know you will), count it in. For days that you’ll eat home, list out the dishes you’ll cook. The more defined your calendar, the better. It’ll save you money and reduce food waste. Get a cute printable menu planner, spend an afternoon browsing recipes and you’re sorted.
2. List it down
With your plan in hand, shop according to the recipe. Leave a notepad on your kitchen counter (or print out this shopping list) or better yet, a white or black board on your fridge. Tech savvy, are we? Use Google Keep or Evernote to keep tabs of what’s running out in the fridge. Add your family to a collaborative list, so everyone is in the know and you don’t end up with two tubs of yogurt.
3. Take a shelfie
Don’t have time to make a list and check it twice? We feel ya – just take a shelfie on your way out. Even if you have a detailed grocery list, it helps to know what’s on your shelf at home. A few quick pictures of the produce in the fridge and your pantry will help you shop responsibly and in smaller quantities. No guessing…
4. Show leftovers some love
It’s inevitable. Leftovers are a part of our lives and we just can’t escape them. And just because it’s a smidge bruised or old, doesn’t make it unfit to eat. Designate one dinner a week to finish up all leftovers. With a little creativity and some effort (by effort I mean Pinteresting), leftovers can also reused in cooking new dishes. Think overripe fruits and leaves for breakfast smoothies, overripe/banged up tomatoes for pasta sauce, cooked meat shredded into salads or Buddha bowls, turn produce into preserves or pickles and what not. Unless something has gone really really bad…
5. Donate to food banks
While the average household wastes food daily, one in 10 Singaporeans are food insecure, struggling to meet their basic food requirements, as per local NGO One Singapore. Plus, one in three elderly people are not eating right either. Do your bit by choosing to donate excess edibles to food banks on the islands like Food Bank Singapore, Willing Hearts, Food from the Heart and others. Next time you visit The Green Collective popup store, drop something off at the Food Bank collection point here!
6. Store properly
Not all fruits and vegetables don’t go into the fridge. Some are the best kept at room temperature and then transferred to the refrigerator to increase its shelf life. Mind blown? Put your Googling skills to use and research a little. For starters, did you know lettuce lasts longer when washed, thoroughly dried, wrapped in paper towels and store in the refrigerator in a reusable, airtight plastic bag?
Also check out The Swag – a multi-layered cotton bag that helps keep your fruit and veg fresher for longer in the fridge! You can get it from one of our fave zero waste stores, The LaLa Lokal and the lovely cafe/social enterprise The Social Space.
7. Too much too soon
Think about it – serving yourself a large portion (especially when you’re hungry) more often than always leads to wastage. Make a conscious effort to serve smaller portions and go back for seconds or thirds or fourths even. That’s if you really need it. And the same goes for ordering at restaurants. And if you do end up with more food than you can finish, don’t be embarrassed to ta pau. We do it all the time and nobody bats an eyelid.
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