The 10 habits of Highly Effective Food Waste Warriors

So, you think you’re great at minimising the food waste you produce. Do you have what it takes to qualify as a Food Waste Warrior? We’ve got 10 habits down, read on to find out if you fit the bill!

1. You store and use your leftovers

It doesn’t matter if you’ve cooked too much or can’t finish your food when dining out, you’re always ready to da-bao.  You whip out your plastic baggies, beeswax wraps or tuppaware containers to pack them for a meal later!

Can’t finish that muffin? Into a takeaway container it goes!

You also make sure to use your leftovers. You don’t want them to fester in the fridge only to end up in the trash afterwards. Using leftovers gives you a chance to be creative with your meals, because really, the possibilities are endless.

2. You buy less and only what you need

We often buy too much and overestimate how much we can really eat. You find it really helpful to plan your meals, make a grocery shopping list and stick to it.
If you’re at a buffet, you take bite-size amounts of food you’re keen to try and go back for more if you like them.

Rethink your serving sizes when you dine at buffets.

3. You don’t mind ‘ugly’ produce

You think that food is food, no matter how they look like! They ultimately taste the same, so why the discrimination? Others see them as odd, but you view them as perfectly imperfect.
People would always find you browsing the aisles where these under-appreciated food items are found. Others don’t know this, but the shelves here stock the best food bargains and some of the cheapest prices!

French supermarket introduces lumpy and misshapen fruit and vegetables – sold at a 30% discount – to combat food waste

4. You treat the expiry date as a guideline, not a rule

You’re okay with products that near their expiry, or even those that have expired.
Author of Wasted Food Jonathan Bloom recommends to “Trust your senses instead of the date on the package. Trust your sense of smell and sight and taste” when it comes to expiry dates. As stated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, these dates often signify food quality instead of safety.

5. You spread the word about food waste

You feel that every single person deserves to know about this problem! You actively try to get the people around you to understand, and if possible, hop on board as well. It’s not always easy, but you tough it all out!

6. You finish every morsel of food on your plate

Apart from ordering only what you’ll eat, you make sure to finish your food down to the last bite.
Your friends identify you as the one with the cleanest plate after every meal. If you don’t like cucumbers in your chicken rice, you make sure to inform the vendors firsthand.

Just how much food are we wasting when we over-order?

Whenever you want to try something new, you’d grab a small portion or share it with a friend so that you waste a minimal amount if you don’t like it.

7. You’re a pro at managing your fridge

You practice FIFO: First in First Out to prevent leaving anything forgotten at the back of the fridge, only to find out that they’ve spoiled after a few weeks..or months.

8. You keep your bananas and apples separate

You know how to best store your foods to prevent them from spoiling too early.
You have also mastered the art of freezing your food. We love freezing overripe bananas- they are perfect for smoothies and muffins. Freezing the bag of raw meat that you bought at a discount also ensures that you’ve got enough to last you through the week without spoiling!

9. You compost your food waste

Sometimes, even after maximising the use of your food, there’s just an inevitable amount of waste left. Instead of dumping them into the bin, you compost them!

Food waste can be composted into fertiliser for use in gardens and farms, making it a zero-waste solution!

Don’t have a compost bin or don’t want to make your own compost? Don’t fret! You can freeze all your organic waste and deposit them at Citizen farm @ Queenstreet, who will compost it for you.

10. You participate in food rescues

Reducing food on an individual level makes a whole lot of difference. But you know that banding together as a community can slash the numbers further. Hence, you participate in food rescues to ensure that surplus food produced in the community goes to those who really need it.
Wanna participate in a local food rescue? SG Food Rescue is looking for volunteers! Hit them up here.

So, how many habits have you checked off? Are you a Food Waste Warrior? If you’re not, fret not, for we can start inculcating these habits right now.

And together, we can make a whole lot of difference.

How to Participate in Stop Food Waste Day in 3 Easy Steps

Is food waste really that big of a problem to warrant an entire day dedicated to fighting it? Sure, wasting food on an individual level should be a relatively small issue. But combine the waste of the entire nation (and the globe!) and we get a massive problem that’s hard to stomach.

Step 1: Be aware of the problem

So yes, food waste IS that big of a problem. But how big is it exactly? Let’s break it down. The FAO of the United Nations explains it well in this short clip.

The food we consume have to pass through many hands before reaching our dining tables. Unfortunately, losses are incurred at every stage of the process.  And as explained in the video, food waste is deeply entrenched in all levels of the industry!
Here are some quick bites about food waste.
  • Did you know that Singapore generated 791,000 whopping tonnes of food waste in 2016 alone! That’s equivalent to two bowls of rice per person a day.
  • On a global scale, 40% of our food goes uneaten. Picture throwing one-third of the food on your plate away! Calculate the numbers and you get  1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted every year.
  • Combine all our wasted food and it becomes the third largest emitter of GHG in the world!
  • The author of of Wasted Food narrowed down the 3 main factors of food waste to: abundance, beauty and cost.
  • At the retail level, large quantities of food are wasted due to quality standards that over-emphasize appearance.

 

Just a fraction of the fruits and vegetables that were bound for the landfill if not for our partnership with the Uglies Market at SMU.

 How much food do you throw out as a consumer?  Would you throw out a basket of strawberries you just bought from the supermarket? 

Pretty tragic right? Like all of the food we consume, these strawberries travelled a pretty long way to reach our tables, only to end up in our trash bins because we forget about them.
Many of us don’t think twice about tossing leftovers away or discarding produce that’s left in the fridge for too long. Multiply the impact across all households in the country and we have on our hands one of the biggest contributors to climate change.

 

Step 2: Act now

When food waste happens on such a massive scale, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, we know that baby steps are the way to go. Here are some simple ways you can start acting now!
  • Buy only what you need with shopping lists and planning your meals in advance. Click here and here for useful tools that we feel make this process fun and easy!
  • Store your food properly. Here’s a comprehensive list of how to store all kinds of produce.
  • Freezing is a great way to prolong the lifespan of your food. Master the art of freezing here.
  • Treat expiration dates as suggestions/guidelines, not the law.
  • Manage your food waste at home with apps such as No waste and
  • Buy meals from restuarants and food stalls at discounted prices with 11th Hour and treatsure.
  • Hosting a party for your colleagues or a get-together with friends? We recommend the really awesome Guest-imator: it helps you calculate how much food to prepare for your guests and even puts your menu, shopping list and recipes together!

 

Step 3: Spread the word

 

Food involves all of us. Everyone has a part to play in this ecosystem. You can do yours by simply spreading the word.

Bonus step: For the aspiring food waste warriors

For those who ask, “how can I do more?”, we’d love for you to come on board as a food waste warrior.
Here at TreeDots, reducing food waste is at the centre of whatever we do. We help society target one of the biggest contributors to food waste- those at the top of the supply chain. By redirecting excess food stocks from big players such as food importers, suppliers and distributers to businesses, we’re helping to unlock the value of food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Looking for cheap food or the best food bargains? We’re the place for you.
Are you a business owner or have a company in mind that you’d like us to reach out to? Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] We’d be happy to hear from you.