Project Drawdown describes reducing food waste as one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon intensity. It was found that “Interventions can reduce loss and waste, as food moves from farm to fork, thereby reducing overall demand.
Reducing food waste is important for our environment and it can also mean a great financial profit for your economy. The great thing is that with a bit of planning and knowledge this seemingly daunting task is a relatively simple task. Or is it?
Food waste is a multifaceted problem with financial, ethical as well as environmental costs. Food waste is harming our environment, if waste is thrown into a landfill it rots and produces harmful gases, such as methane. The gases are more harmful than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere. We also waste all the energy and water that has been used to grow, harvest, transport, and package the food.
In a recent study 53 households in the UK logged their food waste. The study suggests that a household could save £858 pounds per year by cutting food waste. Steps such as using the freezer more efficiently and better use of leftovers meant that the participants in the study could stop more than 76kg of food ending up in the bin if they continued their new habits for a year.
There are several reasons for food waste or loss and between one-third and one-half of all food produced on Earth are wasted. The waste can occur throughout the food system during production, processing, distribution, retail, and consumption. It is estimated that food poverty could be eradicated if we used our resources better.
Food waste and food loss
Food waste” and “food loss” do not mean the same thing.
- “Food loss” refers to food lost in earlier stages of production such as harvest, storage, and transportation.
- “Food waste” refers to food that is fit for human consumption but thrown away, usually at supermarkets or by consumers.
Tips such as being creative with leftovers and using the food that you already have are common suggestions. There are apps like Epicurious and Allrecipes that you can use to make the most of what is already in your fridge and pantry. Love Food Hate Waste’s recipe page is a great inspirational site and on the blog MyFridgeFood you can search for recipes based on ingredients already in your kitchen.
Escape from food waste and food loss: food gain
Next to systematic and rigorous analyzing the food system there is a need for deliberate creative thinking. Let´s do some What If´s.
What if we could turn bread into booze?
What if we could make biogas from our left-overs in our backyard?
Or transform restaurant scraps into bioplastics?
What other ways might we give added value to food waste? Or to put in use TRIZ Inventive Principle #22: ‘Blessing in disguise’ or ‘lemons into lemonade’: use harmful factors, conditions, or situations in a positive way; use a negative as a positive, or amplify a harmful factor to the point where it is no longer harmful.
What if we could keep rotting cherries out of streams?
The Biomimicry Toolbox
“In nature, one organism’s waste or a decomposing body becomes a source of food and materials for other organisms. While we talk about “recycling,” “upcycling” is a more accurate description of what happens in nature.” Biomimicry Toolbox
What ideas to reduce food waste in the kitchen do you have? Can you use the Biomimicry Toolbox and upcycle the food waste in your kitchen or neighborhood?
To help you to think creatively
Be-novative is a platform that encourages you to think creatively, first on your own, and then with other like-minded people. We have opened a thinking space there for ideas to gain food in households. Join us to explore ways to change behavior or come up with technical solutions.
Start with an imaginative ¨What If¨ question about reducing food waste or gain something of added value?
Invent solutions spontaneously, or using the Biomimicry Toolbox or Triz inventive principle nr. 22.
See you at Be-novative!