Go For Zero Food Waste Lifestyle


Nature has given us so many bounties, so it’s only natural that we return the favor

We always advocate the practice of “Zero Waste”.

What does it mean? It means we produce zero waste that goes into landfills or nature and adopt a circular economy principle where each waste gets to have a second life.

Cutting it all down (or eliminating altogether), wouldn’t hurt too, especially for our food waste—the one waste that ought to be returned back to earth.

In our previous blog post on food waste, we mentioned the reasons behind food waste differs in developed and developing countries: the former often squander it on the consumer level, and the latter wasted it in the production and delivery phase due to poor storage facilities and infrastructures. It all adds up in the report released by The Food and Agriculture Organization that states one-third of all food produced across the globe is spoiled or squandered, which breaks down to 45% fruits and vegetables, 35% seafood, 30% cereal, 20% dairy products, and 20% meat.

What a waste.

In general, we produce more biodegradable waste than non-biodegradable, particularly in urban dwellings. The amount is further compounded these days due to the fact that food can become a “trending” topic in social media, prompting us to consume regardless of hunger, and alluring packaging in supermarkets persuade us to buy and stock up regardless of need. Of course, food still plays its basic function: to satiate our hunger after a hard day’s work, but often we order more than what we could take in. The consequence: unfinished plates that become food waste.

“It’s really funny when we think about our ‘relationship’ to food as we grow up,” says Dwi Sasetyaningtyas, or Tyas (26), the brain behind eco-conscious Instagram account and website Sustaination. “As a child, we’re often prodded by our parents to finish our food or Dewi Sri [the goddess of rice] will be sad. But somehow we don’t bring that habit as we grow older.”

Do More, Waste Less

October 16 marks the UN’s World Food Day and the objective is to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030, a goal that can be realized in many ways, starting from us as consumers by consuming consciously and wasting less. The aim: zero food waste. 

Like for Tyas, a graduate of Institut Teknologi Bandung, and who completed her master on Renewable Energy in the Netherlands. She is determined in wasting less food and to making her food last longer. “I am currently learning how to create meal planning to avoid stocking too much unnecessary food,” she says. “Knowing how to store food properly is important, too—did you know that when you put a broccoli or carrot in a glass filled with water that can make it last for about a week when we put it in the fridge?”

Meanwhile, for Ibu Atiek, managing one’s organic waste can be a source of empowerment. Through the non-profit foundation, Yayasan Wisnu, and her own soap line, Kabar dari Desa, she and her team encourage communities to go zero food waste by managing their natural resources and utilizing it for their own benefits. “After a ceremony in Bali, there will be many organic waste, especially coconuts. So for example, they could extract the oil from the coconuts and, along with other botanical resources that they have, use the coconut oil to it create soaps which they could then market and sell,” she says.

And as for us, to achieve zero food waste we always encourage people to separate and compost food waste at home because you can still harvest its benefits for the garden. And it’s not hard at all. “We have a pretty easy composting system,” says Bintang Reditya, ecoBali’s Value Chain and Composting Coordinator. “You just put the food waste inside the bin; add worms that will help break down the food. Then we layer it with soil to cover the smell and followed by carbon-rich straws for air circulation. And just repeat the process. After one to two months, you can scoop it out and spread the resulting compost in the garden.”

Some would say that waste is gross, something that should be disposed of and forgotten instantly. However, we also have to acknowledge that we are also responsible for it. We mix our non-organics with orange peel, coffee grounds, chicken bones, veggie stalks, tea leaves, leftover takeaway food, and so on, then left it to waste and rot in smelly landfills.

“When we manage it well, waste can be gold,” says Dr.Ir. Ni Luh Kartini, MS, Professor of Agriculture in Udayana University. “That’s why we need to push more composting at home rather than sending our organic waste to landfill. However these days we have a tendency to consume what is instant and focus on fast food because we want to bypass the process of cooking our food.

And with her role as a founder of Bali Organic Association Foundation, she has been collaborating with the government to develop organic farming in villages across the island. “Long ago we live in close proximity to our food source, our soil and water aren’t as contaminated as it is now due to the rampant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Everything is fresh, local, and prepared by ourselves, and the food waste that we have we feed to our livestock or composted. For whatever we take from nature, we should always return it back.”

And indeed we should.

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