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Reduce food waste to landfills – It starts with you

Categories: Green Tips
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The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has reported that 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year. Yet, one in nine people on Earth do not have enough food. Food wastage’s carbon footprint is estimated at 303 billion tonnes of equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere. With increasing concern of the world for climate change, PATA, along with our project partner Scholars of Sustenance Thailand (Thai-SOS) and knowledge partner, Futoris are undertaking the BUFFET (Building an Understanding of Food Excess in Tourism) Initiative to target food waste in the hospitality industry in the Asia Pacific region.

Food waste reduction practices should not only be left to government or private sector to implement; we believe that food waste reduction should first start in your home. Here’s how you can start:

  1. Plan before you buy

    Having your meals planned before going to the grocery store saves you both money and time and most importantly, saves food from going to waste. It prevents you from buying unnecessary and impulse ingredients that will probably just end up sitting in the back of your refrigerator until it turns bad. When planning your meals, it is best to consume ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. This way, you won’t waste any ingredients or be bored of the same food!

  2. Blend away

    It is hard to refrain yourself from buying packets of nutritious fruits and vegetables especially when they’re on sale. 2 packets of strawberries selling for the price of 1? Freeze them and blend it into a delicious smoothie that is perfect for anytime of the day. Best part is that a mix of any kinds of fruits and vegetables will be able to make a perfect blend. Here are 50 smoothies combinations you can try at home.

  3. Trust your senses

    How many times have you thrown away food that is perfectly packaged just because it has passed its expiry date? “Best-before” dates are indicators of when a product may begin to lose its flavor and texture, not when the product becomes dangerous to eat. Be sure to do a simple sniff test before tossing food into the bin.

  4. Compost

    Composting does not always need to be a pile of wastes that is dirty, which stinks or looks like it has a life on its own. You will be surprised by just how easy it to start an indoor or outdoor composting pile. Home composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of waste per household per year. Composting at home is one of the best ways you can practice sustainable living through connecting waste back to the resource.

Food for thought: How long do you think it takes for a head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill? 

  1. Grow your own

    Now that you have enriched soil in hand from composting, there is nothing more fulfilling than reaping what you sow. Growing your own food saves you a trip to the grocery store and give you the control on what kinds of fertilizer and pesticides come in contact with your food.

Answer: It takes 25 YEARS for a head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill. A little goes a long way. Start being an active citizen and be conscious of what you toss in the bin.

 

Further information on food waste:

Watch: Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (2017)

Volunteer: Check out Scholars of Sustenance (SOS)’s country projects. Your country may be next to benefit from SOS Food Rescue programs.

Cut food costs in your kitchen: See how Winnow Solutions can help.

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Chef sautèing vegetables in a commercial kitchen.

Buffets are highly appealing to guests, but they are also one of the top generators of food waste. Food waste is a costly and serious environmental issue. If food waste was a country it would be the third largest generator of greenhouse gases, just behind the U.S. and China.

But, food waste also provides great opportunities for the hotel sector. A research found that for every $1 hotel invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, on average they saved $7 in operating costs. With simple changes, hotels can minimize the problem, help the environment and contribute to their margin at the same time.

Winnow develops digital tools to help chefs run a more sustainable, profitable kitchen by cutting food waste in half. Together, chefs and teams using Winnow in 39 countries are saving over 18 million meals and $25,000 per year. From our experience we have learned simple tips to help hotel operators strike a balance between reducing waste and ensuring guest satisfaction:

Estimate the number of daily guests – By using this information, kitchens can forecast production volumes more realistically.

Find out who your guests are – Learn about your guest’s demographics to help you adjust your offering. When there are fewer Asian guests, for example, production of commonly-wasted foods such as rice and congee can be reduced.

Make your buffets look full – Consider reducing the size or depth of your serving dishes, and invest in table decorations rather than displaying more food.

Add live stations to your buffet – Cook dishes with more perishable ingredients, such as omelet and pasta, at live stations during the services.

Encourage guests to waste less – Giving your guests smaller plates sends a subtle message to take less food at one go and to return for seconds if desired.

Invest in technology – Digital tools, such as Winnow, inform where, when and why food waste occurs helping chefs manage their food waste more effectively.

The buffet is here to stay, but we would encourage every hotel operator to look for ways to reduce food waste. It helps the hotels` bottom line and reduces their environmental footprint at the same time. If you’d like to learn more tips to make your kitchen profitable and sustainable, download this free guide with 14 easy and essential steps.

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Dubai World Trade Centre kitchen staff pack excess food to be handed over to the Royati Society (Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives)

Dubai Municipality creates #ZeroFoodWaste campaign for food establishments and residents

Dubai: Dubai is beginning a new war against food waste on Monday to mark World Food Day 2017.

On behalf of the UAE Food Bank, Dubai Municipality, which runs the first branch of the Food Bank, has created the hastag #ZeroFoodWaste, a campaign to commit to zero tolerance for food waste by both food establishments and residents.

Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadhi, assistant director general for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector, said everyone has a role to play in achieving this ambitious goal on World Food Day, and beyond.

The campaign, Yousif said, is the starting point to make #ZeroFoodWaste a new food culture in Dubai — a culture of being aware about the planet, environment, energy and hunger, all of which are linked to food wastage.

Read the full article on Dubai’s latest campaign here.

By Sajila Saseendran for Gulf News.

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