Perspective: Let's Talk About Food Waste

Dec 12, 2018

We like to blame corporations for many of our issues, including the amount of waste that comes from food. However, isn’t it our responsibility to control the food we buy and what we do with it? A good portion of food wastes comes from things we do every day, especially at home.

On average, each American wastes 23 pounds of food each month. The food we waste is mostly made up of either fruits or vegetables. If we were all smarter about food waste, then maybe 1 in 8 residents of Illinois wouldn’t be food insecure.

Now, we all can’t come up with some big plan to reduce waste, but there are a few things at home we can easily do. One of the biggest contributors of food waste at home is not planning. We buy food we think we will eat, but we either forget we have it or leave it for leftovers, which no one actually eats. Instead, we should make strict shopping lists and buy food we know we will eat or use up the food we already have before buying more.

Most people also don’t know how to store certain fruits and vegetables correctly and end up letting them go bad. For instance, bananas, apples, and tomatoes need to be stored separately because they cause other fruits and vegetables to spoil faster. Researching how to store food properly will prevent this food loss.

And finally, sell-by dates are misleading for most consumers. Some people think sell-by dates mean the food has gone bad, when it can still be used. You can easily download the app, FoodKeeper, which tells you the real shelf-life, fridge-life, or frozen-life, unlike the sell-by dates on the containers.

We need to start thinking about our own actions and find ways to prevent food waste, in order to make a difference.

I’m Kate James and that’s my perspective.