LIVE: Decreasing Food Waste Made Easy with RI Resource Recovery’s Noiseux
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The greatest amount of food waste, Noiseux says, comes from individual consumers. Simple awareness of waste can make a major impact in reducing how much food ends up in the trash.
“Most people think they’re wasting a lot less than they really are,” Noiseaux said. “We challenged people to keep their food waste in a clear plastic container for a few weeks, and most were shocked.”
One easy way to decrease needless food waste is by sticking to a meal plan. Writing a shopping list ensures everything that is bought will be used and prevents over-buying, which is far more likely when shopping without a plan.
The next step is even more important: actually using the food you buy. Meal planning is a great first step, but it’s important to actually follow through and use the ingredients before they spoil.
Be realistic when you go shopping, Noiseux says. If you only cook meals at home a few days a week, avoid buying enough for seven days. Also, prepping food ahead of time as much as possible helps prevent the urge to ignore food you already have at home for the sake of convenience.
To further decrease food waste, Noiseux and the RIRRC team challenge consumers to become more creative with food usage by finding ways to utilize parts of food that are generally thrown away, such as eating beet or carrot greens, or making stock from vegetable scraps and chicken scraps.
Composting unusable is another way to keep food out of the garbage can. RIRRC sells composting starter kits, including backyard barrels, for $45, approximately half the cost of other stores. One thing to keep in mind, Noiseux cautions to new composters, is that leaves and other yard clippings are needed to mix in with food scraps. For this reason, fall is the ideal time to start a new composting project.
Home compost cans are unable to break down matter as effectively as large, industrial systems, so the best options for composting at home are plant-based, including vegetable peels, fruit cores, and coffee grounds. Anything denser, such as proteins, bones, or fats, are less likely to break down effectively.
For more information on home composting or how to reduce food waste at home, visit RIRRC’s website.