Why Waste Food?

At the end of time, when I die, I don’t want to leave any leftovers. And I don’t want to  be a leftover”.  

Andy Warhol

Why Waste Food?

Ever noticed how much food you waste in a week? Either because we were way too idealistic about our weekly fruit and vegetable intake during shopping or because dinner plans have changed, we often end up letting perishable food rot in our fridge.

Canadians toss about 6 million tonnes of perfectly good groceries every year, according to Sasha Chapman who wrote Laying Waste. The author embarks on a six month experiment where she keeps track of how much food her household of four wastes. Results: 6 kg per week! This is not even taken into account the food waste occurring before one shops in the supermarket. Apparently 50% of waste happens through the consumer while the other 50% of waste occurs at locations where food is being produced, distributed or while on transport.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, a celebration centered around food, we might pay attention to what we buy and how much of it. Originally this tradition began as a simple gathering. But contemporary meals have expanded into feasts that include oven roasted turkey, homemade cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Days later though when all you see in your fridge is leftovers while you still burp up some ‘cranturkey’ mash from the night before, you might consider simply dumping all your leftovers in the garbage!

What to do then to have some impact in the food waste matter?

Know Thyself

First of all know your eating habits and that of your household. Does your partner always leave some perfectly good edible broccolistems on the side of his plate? Instead of throwing them out, use them to make a broth for a hearty soup. Lots of nutrients are still found in the stems and provide your family with an extra tasty broth.

While shopping, buy fruit and vegetables only for 3 days. While a bit of planning can come a long way, after day 3 social plans change easily and your perishables and wallet will pay the price. Plus, fruit and vegetables perish quickly anyway and isn’t the purpose to eat them while they are as fresh as possible, containing most of the vitamins and minerals?

Be Creative

Be creative and cook with what you have on hand. So the avocadoes are a bit brown? Make them into an avocado smoothie or mash them up for some guacamole. Yes, the dark leafy greens have seen better days and have probably lost some of their magnesium rich content. However, submerge them in some icecold water and much of the crispy texture comes back perfectly fit to serve as a side during dinner.


If buying produce that goes bad easily, consider freezing immediately after buying. This allows you to keep it for another 3 months and gives you the flexibility to use it whenever you need it. It turns out that there is a small loss of nutrients when we freeze products but this also holds true for cooking or storing to the end of time. The only significant nutrient loss that occurs is with freezing fish or other seafood. Freezing fish actually destroys about 30% of its omega 3 content. [1]

Not a Waster of Food and Money

Never wasted any food (or so you think?), good for you and your wallet! Take on the challenge and make note of what you actually throw out in a week: from leftovers to rotten fruit and vegetables to sauces that have the texture of concrete. It might surprise you what ends up in the garbage.

But perhaps you are one of those people that is already consciously reducing food waste wherever possible. Keep it up as there should me more of you!

For the full article by Sasha Chapman, click here!


[1] Servan-Schreiber, David. Anticancer, A New Way of Life. Toronto, Collins: 2007: p.123.