Food waste? In Cyril’s economy? Here are five easy ways to prevent it

Whether in or out of the fridge, here's how you can limit rotten food in your household

03 April 2024 - 14:39
By Thango Ntwasa
An expert gives tips on how to best mitigate food waste, extend the lifespan of your perishables and save money. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/andreypopov An expert gives tips on how to best mitigate food waste, extend the lifespan of your perishables and save money. Stock photo.

With International Day of Zero Waste taking place on March 30, sustainable consumption practices are in the spotlight. Billions of tons of waste are generated annually, and urgent action is required to combat the waste crisis threatening our planet’s health and sustainability.

“As consumers, you hold the power to influence the market and demand that manufacturers prioritise sustainability and environmental responsibility,” says Carol Guedes, head of sales at LG Electronics South Africa.

Besides embracing innovative technologies, consumers can take practical steps to reduce food waste and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Every year in South Africa, about 10.3-million tonnes of edible food intended for human consumption does not make it to people’s plates. This represents up to 45% of the country’s available food supply, reports the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. 

“Surprisingly, household appliances like refrigerators play a major role in this issue,” said Guedes. “Choosing the right refrigerator can substantially improve our consumption habits and reduce food waste.”

Here are some practical things everyone can do to contribute:

Meal planning and smart shopping: Planning meals ahead and making shopping lists based on those plans can help you use ingredients more efficiently, reducing the chances of overbuying and food spoilage.

Proper food storage: Knowing how to store different types of food, using airtight containers, storing produce properly and wrapping perishable items can all help extend the shelf life of your food.

Creative cooking with leftovers: Transforming leftovers into new meals, using vegetable scraps for a homemade broth, and creating innovative dishes from surplus ingredients can add variety to your meals and reduce food waste.

Composting organic waste: Setting up a composting system for organic waste like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells can divert biodegradable materials from landfills and create nutrient-rich soil for gardening.

Understanding date labels: Learning about date labels such as “use by”, “sell by” and “best before” can prevent you from unnecessarily discarding food that is still safe to eat. Assessing food quality based on appearance and smell can also help reduce waste.


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