Food for thought

Did you know that approximately 17 percent of the Kansas City metropolitan area’s waste stream is food waste? The National Resources Defense Council estimates that American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages that they buy (including inedible portions such as bones and peels). When food is wasted, the valuable resources that were used for its production are also wasted.

World Environment Day (June 5), an annual global event sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, is aimed at promoting positive environmental action. This year’s theme, Think.Eat.Save., focuses on food waste and encourages people to “reduce their foodprint.” This campaign encourages each of us to take action in our homes and businesses to reduce food waste, save money, minimize the environmental impact of food production and consumption, and encourage more efficient food production processes.

There are simple steps you can take at home to reduce the amount of food that you throw out. Jonathan Bloom, who blogs about wasted food, recommends taking action against your personal food waste with the following five steps:

1. Plan your meals before you grocery shop.
2. Make a detailed shopping list and stick to it.
3. Serve reasonably-sized portions.
4. Save your leftovers.
5. Eat those leftovers!

Consider donating food you don’t intend to consume to a local food bank instead of tossing it into the trash. When food can’t be consumed or donated, consider composting it instead of discarding it. Composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients. Numerous “how to” resources are available on the Internet for home composting of both yard waste and food scraps.

There is a lot that each and every one of us can do to reduce our food waste. Learn to think about food waste, eat food more mindfully and save money and natural resources at Think.Eat.Save.

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