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Food should be eaten, not wasted!

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year, one third of all food produced for human consumption. The amount of food lost or wasted costs US$2.6 trillion annually and is more than enough to feed all the 815 million hungry people in the world - four times over.

Actually, “food loss” and “food waste” are not the same thing. In developing countries, people cause food loss because of inadequate harvest techniques, poor post-harvest management and logistics, lack of suitable infrastructure, processing and packaging, and lack of marketing information which would allow production to better match demand. Food waste has much blame on consumer habits. For example, all-you-can-eat buffets and buy-one-get-one deals encourage people to buy more than they can eat.

We may not able to reduce food loss, but we can change our consumer habit to reduce food waste. These are 4S principles that we can easily follow.


SHOP EFFICIENTLY

Don’t buy more than you need and plan your meals for the week and stick to that list. This will help you reduce impulse buying and reduce food waste as well. Second, buy exact quantity. For example, if a recipe calls for an apple, don’t buy a whole pack. Instead, buy loose produce so you can purchase the exact number you’ll use.


SAY NO TO BUFFET

Buffets operators pride themselves on the variety and quantity of food they have on offer. However, buffets are abundant with unlimited appetisers, mains, desserts and more. Dishes on buffet lines are continually replenished before emptied, and at the end lots of food ends up in the bin. Research found that half of the food displayed in hotel buffets is normally wasted. Moreover, there are only 10-15% of the leftovers can be donated or repurposed.


SHARE THE SURPLUS

The easiest way to share is to donate food to restaurants and food banks. You can also volunteer at food banks to help collect uneaten food from restaurants to distribute to local charities. The technology for reducing food waste seems very promising at the moment, some mobile app provide different tips from alerting you of reduced pricing of local supermarket food that’s nearing its sell-by date, to cheaper restaurant meals near you, to food sharing and swapping opportunities with your neighbours.


STORE AND REVAMP LEFTOVER

Be smart about storing food. Instead of throwing such foods into landfills, keep them in the fridge to maintain their freshness. Keep raw foods and cook foods separate, and store cooked food above raw food in to reduce the risk of contamination. Moreover, keep a list of what’s in the freezer and when each item was frozen. Place this on the freezer door for easy reference and use items before they pass their prime. There are some non-recyclable food waste such as metal products, large bones and liquids may enhance the quality of compost and prevent the composting equipment from damage.

Don’t just throw leftovers away, use them to make another meal. For example, left vegetables and meat can be used in soups, sauces and salad. You can also turn food scraps into compost for your home garden.

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