Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Wow! So many puns in one title have got us thinking about bananas and litter. Did you know that bananas are one of the most wasted food items at your local grocery store? Did you also know that orphaned bananas (the ones that are sitting on the shelf all alone) are even more wasted than bunches?
According to the Chicago Times Op-ed article by Dana Gunders, Americans throw away 5 billion bananas every year - not to mention how many other types of food like other fruits and veggies, and bread and bakery items are also wasted. Think about how many banana smoothies, breads, and other snacks could have been made and eaten with those orphaned bananas!
In our mission to clean up the planet, food waste is litter. When we waste food, we are also contributing to climate change. There is a tremendous amount of energy and water that goes into growing, harvesting, transporting, and packaging food. Moreover, this process contributes 4% to greenhouse gas emissions, and an additional 6 to 8% could be reduced if we stopped wasting food.
So, how can you help make a difference in food waste? Let's think small before we think big by starting at home.
1. Make a meal plan for the week and only buy the ingredients you need.
You don't have to be rich or savvy to prep - just motivated. There are so many Pinterest Pins and Tiktoks about easy food prep ideas for any budget. Meal prep also reduces food waste because you buy ingredients for the meals you want to prepare rather than going to the store and picking out what looks tasty at the moment.
2. Don't buy in bulk! Yes, this saves money, but how much of it will go to waste?
Buying in bulk only saves money if you are able to use the food before it spoils. If you prefer to buy in bulk, consider meal prepping with these items. This keeps the cost down and you can even freeze some meals to eat later.
3. Become a storage master! Learn about food storage to keep food lasting longer.
Storage ASMR Tiktoks and organized fridges and cupboards are so satisfying to watch. There are so many trendy and eco-friendly ways to store food so it won't go bad as quickly. One simple and easy thing to do to keep food lasting longer is to wash it and store it in air-tight containers. Plus, the plastic wrappings and containers at the store don't do much to protect the food. Don't forget to recycle the plastic!
4. Compost food scraps to use for gardening or fertilizer for indoor plants.
Banana peels are chock-full of nutrients for plants! Pop the peels in the freezer and when your plants are ready for a drink, let the peels steep in the water for an hour, then pour the nutritious tea into the plants! Eggshells are also full of calcium and are easy to add to your plant's soil. Put the eggshells in a blender, pulse until powdery consistency, and add to the plant's soil.
These are just a few ways to be mindful about the food you buy and how to make the most of it so it doesn't go to waste. And remember - SAVE THE ORPHAN BANANAS <3
Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Reducing Wasted Food At Home. EPA. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home
Gunders, D. (2021, April 9). Home Page. chicagotribune.com. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.chicagotribune.com/
Keating, M. (2020, June 3). Reducing food waste: Eight tips for home cooks. NRDC. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/reducing-food-waste-eight-tips-home-cooks
World Wildlife Fund. (n.d.). Fight climate change by preventing food waste. WWF. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/fight-climate-change-by-preventing-food-waste#:~:text=When%20we%20waste%20food%2C%20we,more%20potent%20than%20carbon%20dioxide.