“What’s for dinner?”
For many, the question is uttered nearly every evening, and the answer is easy.
But for 795 million people in the world — those who don’t have a reliable meal to look forward to according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations — the question is more open-ended.
You might be surprised to learn that an important step in the fight to end hunger is to reduce food waste. In fact, 1.3 billion tons of the food produced around the world goes to waste each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The severity of the issue recently prompted the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency to establish a goal to reduce U.S. food waste 50 percent by 2030. The country’s first-ever food waste reduction goal calls for the federal government to join forces with local governments, charities, faith-based organizations and the private sector to find ways to conserve the country’s resources in order to improve food security.
Ready to take a stance? World Food Day, Friday, Oct. 16, marks a good opportunity to set your own waste-reduction goals, and if you visit www.dow.com/makeitlast you will find a number of ways you can help reduce food waste and use.
Here are five simple ways to cut back on food waste in your daily life.
Pay attention to packaging. Increasingly, high-performance food packaging makes it possible to better protect food as they make their way from grocery store shelves to your pantry. Take lightweight flexible pouches, for instance. You’ll find these packages used to protect some of your favorite foods at the grocery store, from frozen fruits and vegetables to cereals and crackers. The pouches’ layers keep contents from being damaged or spoiled. Resealable packaging allows you to use what you need and safely save the rest for later, preserving the remaining portions and making food last.
Learn the dos and don’ts of food storage. Believe it or not, pre-wrapped vegetables purchased at the grocery store can last up to 5 times longer than vegetables without packaging. Take for example a cucumber pre-wrapped in plastic. It can stay fresh up to 14 days instead of just three days if not wrapped.
Call on technology for new recipe ideas. Download an app on your phone to help inspire new dishes that use up last night’s leftovers. Several apps available in the App Store generate recipes based on ingredients you’ve marked as currently stocked in your kitchen. They’ll help you look at the food in your refrigerator as delicious opportunities rather than garbage-bound.
Donate to local organizations. Find a local food drive to donate non-perishable foods to those in need. Start by organizing your pantry and piling the items you likely won’t use in the near future. Rather than tossing the items, turn your waste into an opportunity to feed the hungry in your community.
Visit the Make It Last Site. The Make It Last site from Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics offers information about the food waste crisis and leaves you feeling empowered with helpful tips and facts to help you reduce food waste in your home. The campaign also offers information on the role plastic packaging plays in preventing food waste from farm to table.