Wasting food is becoming an alarmingly prevalent trend around the globe, with more than 1 billion tonnes of food thrown away every year as millions of people continue to die of hunger.
Moreover, due to the carbon dioxide emitted during the decomposition process, these mountains of wasted food are also contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and so, climate change.
There are a number of reasons for food waste – from poor storage and transportation at the source, to wastage in supermarkets. Waste in the home and at eateries, however, is also a common cause.
From people buying more than they need at the market to ordering too much food at restaurants – we often vastly overestimate how much food we need.
Eateries often fuel this waste by offering ‘all you can eat’ buffets. This encourages people to eat more than they need – or can even comfortably digest! – while a large proportion of the food also finds its way into the trash.
Here in Vietnam, and indeed across Asia, food is a central part of our culture and our celebrations often feature large six course meals that very few of us can eat. Despite this though, it is often frowned upon to ask to take food home.
Asking to take leftovers home is seen as shameful, suggesting that we do not have the money to feed ourselves, even if we are simply trying to reduce waste.
Rather than this, though, we should start to embrace taking leftovers home. In reality, it has nothing to do with money and is a positive action that shows we care about the environment, as well as how much we have enjoyed the meal.
Reducing food waste has many, many benefits. On a personal level it will help you to save money and to be healthier, as eating more food than we need puts a strain on our bodies, leading to diseases like cancer and gout.
Most significantly, though, by reducing food waste you will be helping to reduce Co2 emissions, combating climate change, while also helping to preserve more land for wildlife and nature rather than for unnecessary agriculture.
It is through small, everyday changes like buying and ordering less food that together we can create a more sustainable and healthy world. Be the change you want to see!