New Year’s resolution: A food waste diet

Image by net_efekt's via Flickr

Image by net_efekt's via Flickr

This January, I’m putting myself on a diet: A food waste diet.

If I stacked up all the convenience and takeaway food packages I used, meal ends that were thrown out, and unused produce that went bad in my fridge over the last year, I would be filled with shame at my thoughtlessness.

Between withrawing from the Kyoto Protocol and international criticism about our oil sands, the world is starting to think Canadians just don’t care about the environment any more.

Well I still do, and the best way to make a huge reduction in your carbon footprint is to reduce household waste created by food. According to a 2009 Statistics Canada report:

In 2007, an estimated 38% of solid food available for retail sale was wasted, the equivalent of 183 kilograms per person.

That’s 403 pounds of food wasted, per person, per year, in Canada.

Things that weigh 400 pounds: a female grizzly bear; a Welsh pony; an Orca whale. Put 35 million of these animals into a pile, and there’s our waste for the year.

My easy food waste diet plan:
1. Bring leftovers for lunch
Not only will I avoid eating a second helping at night and risk throwing the rest of that dinner out, I will also avoid takeaway container waste the next day. Portion control meets food waste conscientiousness. This one is the silver bullet.

2. Turn vegetable bits into stock
Carrot peelings, leek ends, mushroom stems and cabbage cores can all have a second life in my slow cooker, transformed into vegetable stock.  And thanks to fellow blogger and our food director Annabelle Waugh, I know how to freeze stock into ice cube trays for easy use, any time.

3. Grocery shop with a plan
Having a menu plan in mind when hitting the grocery store means buying what you’ll actually use, and not buying what you think you’ll use. I can’ t count how many times I’ve purchased a knobbly celeriac root with full intention to use it, and never have. I’ll use our weekly Dinner Club recipes, which are also available on mobile so I can access them at the store.

Now this is a diet I feel really good about, finally!

Do you transport your lunches in Tupperware, Corningware, glass jars, metal containers or something else? I could use some advice on the best way to bring my dinners.

In researching for this blog post, I came across UK-based Love Food Hate Waste, whose interactive website has tons more tips for keeping food waste to a minimum.