Beware of waste! Also and especially in the coronavirus pandemic

Beware of waste! Also and especially in the coronavirus pandemic

May 08, 2020

Beware of waste! Also and especially in the coronavirus pandemic

Food waste is a global problem that could become bigger due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the new habits it has forced us on. Expert advice on how not to throw food away.

Travel restrictions, closed bars and restaurants, children at home from school and adults working from home. All the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are inevitably being reflected in our shopping and how we are preparing and eating meals. The rush to buy food has left empty shelves in supermarkets, filling refrigerators and unfortunately many garbage cans as well.

Faced with this scenario, which risks worsening the habits of already “wasteful” countries, experts from the World Resources Institute have compiled a list of suggestions to follow during the pandemic. These are in addition to the advice issued by FAO in its constant effort to reduce waste at mealtimes, useful during the coronavirus lockdown and more generally to achieve the goal of defeating world hunger (Zero Hunger), the second of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

Don’t throw away leftovers: keep them for another meal or use them to prepare new dishes.

Be smart with your shopping: plan your food purchases carefully and only buy what you need to reduce your visits to the supermarket, without overdoing it. Use nearby shops to buy fruit and easily perishable products, they are smaller and less crowded, and many of them also offer local deliveries. This means you can replenish your stocks more often without increasing your risks, but also without having to throw away fresh food that has gone bad.

Don't judge food by its appearance: “ugly” fruit and vegetables are generally just as good and often less expensive. Some agricultural supply chains are currently suffering from a lack of labor or transport difficulties, so local fruit and vegetables, from nearby and perhaps smaller producers, are a good alternative to big supply chains.

Use your refrigerator and freezer wisely: knowing how to best store food and organize it in your refrigerator helps to avoid waste. In particular, now that we have to reduce our visits to stores, it is important to plan any shopping that needs to be kept in the refrigerator, to avoid exceeding its capacity and compromising the quality of the storage.

Learn to read the labels: “use by” means the food can be eaten safely by that specific date, while “best before” means the food is at peak freshness before that date but there are no health risks involved in eating it later.

Grow food with your scraps: food that is no longer edible can still be used to improve the fertility of the soil in your garden or vegetable patch. 

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