As if we needed another metric to find out just how much our actions impact the planet, here's one that proves that (as I'm sure you suspected) food waste does indeed add to overall carbon emissions. And there are ways to prioritize our shopping and eating habits to lessen this. Here's the skinny.
According to a story on NPR, some recent number-crunching by CleanMetrics founder and president Kumar Venkat showed that, on average, Americans waste enough food to account for about 1.5 percent of carbon emissions. And it's not just about the food waste and carbon emissions, either; Venkat found that families of four could save $600 a year on average by cutting their food waste in half.
So, what can we do?
• Eat legumes and nuts as protein sources more of the time. Meat (especially beef) creates the most carbon emissions while nuts and legumes the fewest. Shoot for Meatless Mondays, or being vegetarian half the time—any little bit helps.
• Try a smoothie for breakfast. (And other pantry-clearing tricks.) Browning bananas, mushy (not moldy) berries, and even the last of the spinach can all be blended together into a healthy beverage for a meal or a snack. And if you have a juicer, just throw those almost-gone fruits and veggies in to make the most of your produce.
• Compost! Small or large scale composting can help make the most of food scraps, forgotten (meat-free) leftovers, and that one zucchini you left at the back of the crisper drawer.
• Buy smarter. Purchase smaller amounts of fresh ingredients, and shop more often if you're able, in order to have only what you need on-hand. If you can't shop more often, try meal planning and only buy what's on the list for the recipes ahead.
Read more: How That Food You Throw Out is Linked to Global Warming at NPR
(Image: Amber Byfield)