The war on food wastage

Storing food correctly can determine how long it lasts a new study finds.

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Storing vegetables can determine how long they last. Source: Tayla Mitchell

Food wastage accounts for 122,547 tonnes of rubbish per year. Edible vegetable waste contributes 47, 615 tonnes each year. But a recent Otago University Study has found that storing your vegetables in a certain way can make them last longer.




How much food wastage ends up being vegetables. Source: Tayla Mitchell

The study used lettuce, avocado, carrots, salad greens, celery and pumpkin and stored them in different ways to find the best way to store them to make the vegetables last.

By using simple, every day, household items like airtight containers, paper towels and cling wrap vegetables can be stored in a way to make them last up to 10 times longer for some vegetables.

For example, storing chopped celery in an airtight container lined with a paper towel will result in it lasting for up to five days longer, the study found.

Love Food Hate Waste partnered with the University of Otago on the study and created this infographic from the results of the study.


The optimum storage for vegetables. Source: Love Food, Hate Waste

The study hopes that it might encourage people to make a little extra effort when storing their vegetables.

“Many people don’t put a lot of effort into storing their food correctly and with a lot of conflicting information out there, we thought it was time to really put these storage methods to the test,” said Dr Miranda Mirosa from the University of Otago.

Dr Lesley Stone from Auckland Universities Environment and Sustainability program said that food wastage has social, environmental and economic impacts.

But it is the environmental impacts that could be the most damaging.

“The environmental impacts that result directly from food waste include leachate and methane emissions that result when organic materials decompose in landfills,” Dr Stone said.

Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas, which is something we do not want going into the atmosphere.

Correct food storage isn’t the only way of reducing food waste.

“Prevention, reduction and re-use of food waste at source can be complemented by composting of food waste in composting systems,” said Dr Stone.

Dr Mirosa said the “key message from the study is that it is better to do something small than nothing”.

Love Food Hate Waste was approached for a comment but did not get back before deadline.


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