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Preventing food waste at home: track, improve, repeat

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Getting rid of habits and changing behaviour to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle on a personal level can be challenging. Let’s say you have noticed that you throw out a lot of food because it has gone bad before you’ve had the chance to eat it and you want to reduce the amount of food wasted in the future.

To take the first step of committing to behaviour change, make sure to be clear about your vision of a “better future” and why it is important to you – write it down to set the stage to give a strong emotional pull behind your goal getting. Think about the “why” of your goal, the “why” you want to make more conscious choices – in this case about when and what food you buy and consume in the future. For example read why we at PATA have chosen to tackle food waste in our industry.

The following three easy to follow but essential steps can help you to reach your goals and stay motivated while recognising your progress along the way.

  1. Track: Rather than rushing into something unfamiliar that may turn out to be overwhelming, take your time to develop a plan that you can follow and incorporate in your weekly schedule. Continuing with our example of food waste, start by listing all dry ingredients and fresh foods you have at home and be sure to know which ones need to be consumed first. Create a tracking sheet to measure food waste to help you identify its sources. It is important to understand where and when what type of food is wasted.
  2. Improve: Learn from your tracking sheet and create a plan. For example, create a meal plan for the upcoming week by making the most of the ingredients you already have at home and minimise the amount of additional food to buy. Write a shopping list and plan to buy groceries only once a week to focus on buying only what you need for your meals. Think of meals that use similar and seasonal ingredients and combine them creatively. To reduce a significant amount of packaging and waste, you may also consider bulk-buying some ingredients with a long shelf-life together with friends and family.
  3. Repeat: Remember to reassess your new behaviour regularly. In this case, reassess your meal plan on a weekly basis and continuously improve your shopping list and meal planning according to portion size and ingredients used.

Make sure to keep tracking and you will see how easy it is to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, one goal at a time.