In what ways can we reduce food waste through individual actions?



Understanding Food Waste

The first step in reducing food waste is understanding why it is an issue, particularly for the environment. Approximately 33% of the food that is produced globally equates to waste, so we must come up with methods that save or relocate this food in advantageous ways.

There are two categories under which we can define food waste.

The first is food loss. Food loss is is defined by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as “the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by food suppliers in the chain, excluding retailers, food service providers and consumers.” These are all of the wasted food products that do not reach the customers.

Food waste, on the other hand, is “the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers,” according to the FAO. This type of waste comes from customers and retailers. It is the result of poor planning, overbuying, and discarding usable products. It leads to monumental amounts of food in landfills. 

Because food waste is a reactive process, we can repurpose it to maximize its usage capacity. 


November – Reducing Food Waste –


How can I help?

You can start by thinking through the food-related processes you practice at home. Are you buying too much food? Not buying enough? Do you pay attention to the “best by” date?

Once you inspect your consumption habits, you may be able to indicate areas where you can reduce and refine them. A large quantity of the food that is wasted is perfectly usable. Before throwing it out, check twice to see if it is nonconsumable. After you have done so, determine whether you can place it in a compost.

Composting is a great way to repurpose food so it does not end up in a landfill and produce greenhouse gasses, like methane, which contribute to global climate change. You can reduce your total household waste and produce healthy, nutrient rich organic material. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint!

How did I respond?

To combat the global issue of food waste, I decided to focus on composting, too. Although it is a widely-known practice, there isn’t enough of in it our communities, and we can learn from having them around. To start, it is a good plan to have an idea of what food waste is and why it is such a high-profile problem. Being educated is most helpful in understanding why to take on this project. 

By creating a step-by-step instructional guide to building a compost at home, it makes the practice simple and easy. It provides illustrations about how to build a compost, what it looks like, and information as to why it is important. I’ll be following along myself and taking the journey with my peers, which validates the process on the way. The way I’ll accomplish this is on social media. Step by step, I’ll make a compost, too. It’s a wonderful project that aids the environment, and I am excited to promote it to the community. 


Take my quiz about composting!



Works Cited

Composting at Home. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Accessed 19 April 2020. 

Composting. Eartheasy, 2020, Accessed 19 April 2020.



Desroches, Zoe. Getting to zero: how Asana Culinary minimizes food waste. Asana Blog, 2017, Accessed 19 April 2020. 


“Food Loss and Food Waste.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Accessed 5 April 2020. 


Hawken, Paul. “Reduced Food Waste.” Project Drawdown, Accessed 5 April 2020. 


Reducing Food Waste. Zero Waste Church, 2017, Accessed 19 April 2020. 


Share this project
  1. April 24, 2020 by Claire

    This is such an important topic, especially in the face of climate change! My family wants to get a compost bin for our house, so this information was really helpful for me to know what can and cannot be composted. Do you have any sources that explain how to take care of a compost bin? I know that you have to stir it occasionally and other things, and I want to make sure that my family takes care of our compost properly. Also, there’s an organization in my town called CompostNow, and people pay them to pick up their compost bins every week and then give the compost that they collected to local farms and businesses. You should check it out!

  2. April 24, 2020 by Mila Tewell

    Well done, Grace. I appreciate the distinction you make via the FAO between food loss and food waste, and understand why you chose to address food waste (though you have raised my curiosity about food loss and I will research that too!!) I hope you will share your composting journey on several social media sites. Interested by experiences of composting over the winter months, if you have any advice. Thanks Grace!

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