“Eat every grain of rice or else they will cry,” Asian mothers would say when their kids try to sneak away from the dinner table early, leaving bits of their meals uneaten. It’s time we implement this advice in our adulthood too.
Food wastage is a rising concern in Malaysia. According to the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp) Malaysia, 16,667.5 tonnes of food waste is being produced on the daily – 44.5 percent coming from the household sector, and 24 percent classified as still edible. That’s enough food to feed 2,970,000 people three square meals.
Food waste can lead to a lot of harm on both humans and the planet. Natural resources would erode, leading to climate change and increasing food prices and scarcity. There’s a strong need for change and what better way than to start with our personal habits at home?
Steps to Reduce Food Waste
1. Make a list
One of the easiest ways to reduce food wastage is to shop smart. Plan your grocery shopping on a weekly or monthly basis, then prepare (and stick to!) a shopping list that has only what you need. This bulk-shopping routine will not only help you save money but allows you to control your purchases so that there won’t be extra or unused ingredients.
2. Plan ahead
Speaking of ingredients, food prepping is another way to say goodbye to food waste. Draw up a weekly meal plan that will incorporate all the ingredients you bought and try to use every part of them in different recipes.
3. Try composting
But say you do need to get rid of some food; maybe those onion skins or banana peels aren’t good for anything. You can opt to compost them instead. Prepare a compost bin where you can get rid of decayable food waste and use it to fertilise your garden.
4. Start your own garden
Don’t have a garden? Consider starting one and plant your own herbs and vegetables! That way, you can have the option of adding freshly picked ingredients into your meals without any waste, just like how our diners can choose to pick their own basil from our basil pots.
5. Eat out wisely (and ethically)
Of course, not all of us have the luxury of cooking at home every day. When you do eat out, try choosing restaurants that use every part of their ingredients. Vietnamese cuisine, for example, uses methods of food preparation that ensure that every single part of a plant or animal is used. This is a key philosophy here at An Viet, and we encourage our diners to finish their meals as well.
Kick-start your journey with these tips to help reduce food wastage. You will see the benefits in both short and most importantly, long-term. After all, no effort is too small when it comes to saving Mother Nature.