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Fighting food waste one plate at a time

Up to 50 per cent of food produced in the world is wasted. Three Whistler companies fight back

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"This week we had some chard with outside leaves that had brown running up the stem, but the green is still really nice. We have a whole orange box full of fresh chard to go to them," Martin said. "I just sent six cardboard boxes of food to Helping Hands last week. We have them come and pick up every Saturday."

Planning is simpler for the company as their deliveries are based on weekly orders placed online or by phone.  They deliver baskets at various prices to between 80 and 100 customers from Lions Bay to Pemberton.

"It's not like a grocery store or a restaurant that can't predict what their orders are going to be. That's a big part of what we do, and it really cuts the waste," Martin said.

Preventing food waste at home

• Pinpoint what you toss out — For a week, note what you throw out. Analyze why it's there. Should you buy less or smaller boxes? Should you cook less in order to avoid leftovers that aren't eaten?

• Organize the fridge — What's in the back? Clean out the fridge weekly to see what needs using up.

• Cook smaller amounts for meals — Only put on your plate what you will eat.

• Use-it-up meals — Cut off the bruised bits and prepare what is left. Have a meal a week that can use up food that is ripe or wilted. Spaghetti sauces, bakes, frittatas and soups are all good options.

• Fridge settings — Thirty-nine degrees will keep your food safe and avoid spoilage.

• Freeze leftovers — Put a container in the freezer for excess veggies that can be mixed together and saved for soups. Even cooked rice, broth and tomato paste can be frozen.

• Shop frequently — Purchase what you need as you need it. Bulk buying means bulk storage and what is the point of getting that extra deal if you throw the extra food out?

• Plan ahead — Look at the calendar and decide when you have more time to cook, which would be better for leftovers. Make a weekly menu around your schedule.

• Label language —"Sell-by" and "Best-before" dates do not mean you must throw them out the day after the one on the jar. But bad odours, colours, mean it might not be a good idea. Never use baby formula past its date.

Source: Whole Living Magazine