21 December 2014

"Waste No Food This Christmas" - EcoWaste Coalition

As the nation prepares for the yuletide feasting and celebration, zero waste campaign network EcoWaste Coalition urged the public not to waste food.

“The One whose birthday we are supposed to be celebrating during this season dislikes wasting food,”
said Christina Vergara, EcoWaste Coalition’s Zero Waste Program Officer.

“‘Gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted’ was Jesus Christ’s command to his disciples after
feeding 5,000 people during the New Testament times (John 6:12),” she continued.

According to the Coalition, as a rule of thumb when preparing for the usual Noche Buena, Media Noche, and similar occasions of feasting, have an estimation of what can be consumed, or what we call “sapat”, keeping the "extra" (i.e. what you can share with others or safely store for later consumption) to manageable quantity.

“As much as possible keep the celebration simple and fill your Christmas
with genuine joy.
‘Joy is found in simple things’,” Vergara added, quoting Todd Stocker in his book “Dancing with God”.

“Remember, the first Christmas was celebrated for its humble simplicity in a manger in an unknown corner of Bethlehem,” she stressed.

The coalition emphasized that the principle to always have in mind to avoid food waste come only in two words: ‘walang aksaya’ or ‘zero waste’.

To address the issue of food wastage as we celebrate the Yuletide season, the Coalition urged Filipinos to consider the following guidelines:

1. Plan ahead, keep the menu simple, healthy and wallet-friendly, opt for dishes that do not spoil easily, prepare just enough for the members of your household and/or confirmed guests.

2. Share excess food to others, especially the needy.

3. Check what is available in your refrigerator and kitchen before hitting the market.

4. Prepare an essential food shopping list and stick to it to avoid hasty purchase.

5. Calculate and buy only what you need for the occasion. Go for loose fruits and vegetables in lieu of pre-packed that usually come in plastic wrap and Styrofoam tray.

6. Stock only the type and quantity of food items that can be kept properly in the cabinet or refrigerator to retain quality and avoid spoilage.

7. Post a reminder at the cupboard or fridge door on perishable items that have to be consumed first.

8. If hosting a potluck event, know the number of attendees and have a list of who will bring what and how much (and request them to put their contributions in recyclable bowls or trays).

9. If serving palabok or spaghetti, mix the sauce when the food is ready to be served and consumed.

10. Allow guests to serve themselves so they can select what they would like to eat, and how much, to prevent unwanted food from being left on the plate.

11. If food will be pre-served, offer just enough quantities of food. Announce that everyone can come back for a second serving once they have cleared their plate.

12. As kids eat less than adults, adjust the size of meal portions and serve less than what you will normally give.

13. If you are hosting a children’s party, throw in a healthy competition to introduce the concept of zero food waste. Ask everyone to finish their food and reward the kids with the cleanest plates.

14. When faced with a large spread of dishes that all look tantalizing, let your taste buds (not your eyes) decide. Take sampler quantities first and then decide which ones you truly like and how large a serving you will take to avoid leaving stuff on your plate or suffering from indigestion.

15. Always put a clean and dry serving spoon and/or fork in every dish you serve to avoid quick spoilage of leftover food.

16. Store, seal, and label clean leftovers in separate containers in the coolest portion of your refrigerator.

17. Recycle leftovers instead of throwing them away: Make meat and vegetables into a delicious broth or as “sinangag” (fried rice) mix. Use bacon, ham, or fish scraps to make a flavorful pasta. Turn overripe fruits into shakes, smoothies, or jams. Fashion stale bread into yummy pudding. Sun-dry "bahaw" (leftover rice) to make "ampaw" (puffed rice) snack.

18. Find new uses for damaged or overripe fruits and vegetables or scraps. Orange, pomelo or ponkan peels can be used as air fresheners. Jackfruit and pineapple can be made into vinegar.

19. Compost food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peelings and other kitchen discards to produce “garden food” to enrich depleted soils.

20. Avoid eating out. Celebrate the holidays at home where you can control the portions and the types of food and beverage to partake. Remember, “walang aksaya” (zero waste).




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