This week we hopped on a Zoom call with Michelle Dias, a Waste & Recycling Educator for the City of Calgary, to talk about food waste and ways we can reduce food waste. Did you know that upwards to 60% of individuals black-bin waste in Calgary is food waste that can either be eaten or composted? The City of Calgary is working hard to encourage households to implement certain practices in their life to help keep compostable & organic material out of landfills. Michelle shared some great information, videos and resources that we will link below! Here are 3 easy tips she shared with us on how we can reduce food waste in our homes:
Plan it out
Planning your meals is a big help when it comes to making sure you’re only buying food you know you will eat. Create a realistic schedule based on how many meals you’ll be needing for the week. There are tons of great resources available to help with planning, whether that be a printable meal planner calendar, or a grocery-list shopping app. You can find ways to make this step easier that work you & your household! If you’re stumped on what to make, you can find recipes on websites like Love Food Hate Waste or by any other website you can find by googling recipes or certain ingredients. Here are some more reminders to help you reduce food waste under ‘Plan it out’:
– Don’t grocery shop hungry
– Always do a scan of your fridge & pantry before heading to the grocery store
– Stay away from “deals” — just because the price may be better for larger amounts, doesn’t mean it’s always good if you can’t guarantee you will eat it all before it goes bad
– Know the different between Best Before dates & Expiry Dates
– Plan meals based around using items up that may be going bad soon — this ties into the last tip!
Here is an example of a meal-planner you can use:
Store it right
Do you enjoy organization, or do you find it time consuming? Did you know it actually takes the same amount of time if you take just a little bit of time at the beginning to organize, compared to spending the time finding and moving items around each time you’re looking for something? Organization is a great way to cut down on over-buying and food going to waste. Keeping your fridge and pantry organized helps make everything visible for you. Another tip is to label your items — that way you know exactly what you have or what you are grabbing that day!
The second part of this tip is to make sure you’re storing things like herbs, vegetables and fruit properly. Did you know there is actually a specific way you should be organizing items in your fridge based on keeping items fresh? Here is a photo Michelle shared during her power point below!
Use it up
All 3 of these tips tie well into each other, and are very easy to follow! If you plan out your meals (and stick to it by keeping items organized and visible) you have a higher chance of using things up, instead of needing to throw items out that could’ve been eaten. Keeping leftovers easily visible in your fridge is a good way to make sure they are being used up. You could pick a certain day(s) of the week where you only cook with what you have — no buying anything, no take out. This is one of the biggest, and easiest ways to not only cut down on food waste, but also help you save some money!
Here are clickable links Michelle Dias has shared with us regarding reducing food waste:
Reducing Our Food Waste (City of Calgary)
Love Food Hate Waste Fridge Guide
How Compost Is Made: Calgary’s Green Cart Program
Food Waste with John Oliver
Second Harvest: The Roadmap to Avoiding Food Waste
Thank-you so much for reading this week’s blog post about Food Waste. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!