Want To Switch To Waste-Free Living But Are Overwhelmed Where To Start? Start Here.

2021 was billed as the ‘last chance’ for decisive action to fight climate change.  COP26 was meant to bring revolutionary changes that would make or break our planet.

But those were not to be. Dai Yande, deputy chief of the Energy Research Institute, said China’s emissions were unlikely to fall low enough to remain below the temperature goal recommended by the G8 and European Union. “Twenty percent of the world’s population takes 80% of wealth and emits 70% of greenhouse gases,” he said. “I think two degrees is a vision that is difficult to fulfill because few countries have reached Kyoto protocol targets, except the UK and some others in the EU.”

Perhaps, the number 1 question for everyone, who has recently become aware of the urgency of environmental issues is, “what changes can I make to contribute to the decrease in environmental damage?” This question keeps popping up despite the tons of widely available information and literature on the topic.

In fact, for some, it can be overwhelming. Putting it into practice can appear extreme and discouraging. It often feels like, if you are not all in, you are not taking the matter seriously. But that is like attempting a headstand in your first yoga class.

We need to pace our effort, gradually adding new routines to our daily lives to make the changes sustainable. It is best to start with one practice and see how it spreads to other lifestyle choices, instead of attempting to adopt 10 different habits at the same time. You can start by trying to eliminate plastic or going second-hand, but we would urge you to start by focusing on food waste reduction.

Being mindful about your food is such a fundamental mind-shift, that it will soon spread to the rest of your non-sustainable behavior. You will be fast on your way to waste-free living.

Why start with food waste?

Reducing food waste is a fundamental behavior shift, because of its Triple E impact, which besides huge environmental effects has also significant ethical and economic consequences.

The statistics are stark: we are currently throwing away somewhere between 20% and 30% of the food we buy. That is like 1 in 3 apples goes to the bin uneaten.

We don’t throw away food because we are bad people. We end up binning our food because we overestimate the amount of food we can eat within a given time period before it goes bad.

People do not want to waste, it’s collateral damage. We need to change the social norm, from a fear of having too little to concern about having too much.

– Erica van Herpen, Wageningen University

And obviously, we are not mildly off, we are way off. We overestimate by buying and cooking 30% more food than we need. And, as Jose and Jill from Your RV lifestyle have rightly observed in their “Living a Zero Waste Lifestyle” Guide,  “reducing waste does not begin with your rubbish – it begins with the things that you buy.”

Just by reducing the amount of food we buy, we will be decreasing the CO2 emissions we produce from binned food by up to 30%. An average household bin approximately 90 kgs., of food each year, which is the equivalent of 170 CO2-e (kg). If we manage to cut our food waste to 5kgs., per annum, we would be producing just 9.5 CO2-e (kg) as a result of binning.

This means we will also be saving up to 30% of the money we spend on food. For the average UK household, the saving can be approx., 65 GBP per month, while for a US family the reduction can be as much as 125 USD each month. This certainly makes a neat addition to your saving account.

Buying less food means we will be producing proportionally less packaging waste. All those trays of fruit, vegetables, meat, those bottles of milk, those pots of yoghurt, those egg containers we did not buy, we did not throw away either. 20-39% sounds like a huge reduction in plastic waste. But here is the really good news – your journey will not stop here.

Reducing the amount of food and packaging waste we produce makes us more conscious and motivated about reducing our waste in total. We start seeking package-free options in our grocery purchases, which includes remembering to bring that reusable bag each time we shop. We might make a significant cut on takeaway packaging, as we are likely to do more home cooking instead. Or, we will start remembering to tell the barman no straw with our Bloody Mary.


Because reducing food waste means planning to buy, only what we need, we will cut on the number of mindless car trips we make for groceries, because we have no clear idea what we will be eating. We might gradually find ourselves less reliant on our car as a whole, and witness ourselves doing more walking, cycling, and public transport.

We might not adopt all those habits, or we might not adopt them that fast, but either way, we will have built a solid core of waste-free living, just by reducing our food waste. 

By now you are probably asking the big question:

How do I successfully switch to food waste-free living?

CozZo Waste-Free Kitchen Manager App

We suggest adopting the CozZo app as your kitchen helpmate in fighting food waste. CozZo is a next-gen mobile app that helps you reduce your food waste by tweaking the food purchasing, cooking, and storage habits that lead to food waste. It helps you become more mindful of how you treat your food.

CozZo can be used freely if you live by yourself. If there is another person(s) in your home we can recommend our “Household Account” package of cloud-powered services and add-on features, designed to help you achieve lasting results quickly and easily with the help of all members of your family. Going waste-free is a choice that everybody needs to make the next couple of years, so urge your housemates to join you today, because the sooner we all adopt, the more chances we have to reverse the climate catastrophe.

Here is how CozZo assists you throughout your food management journey in 4 steps.

1. Check what food you already have at home to plan your next shopping.

The key to reducing excess grocery purchases is knowing what you already have stored at home and what food needs urgent attention as it approaches the end of its shelf life. This awareness will eliminate random or ‘just in case” purchases.

To avoid premature repeat buys or forgotten fridge items, keep track of your stocked products or cooked dishes by adding them to a home inventory. You can use a single inventory or create multiple ones to note the storage location of your products – “Fridge”, “Pantry”, “Freezer” etc.

When you cross-off items from your shopping lists they are automatically moved to your inventories. If you have upgraded to a Household Account plan you can use the receipt and barcode scanner to quickly add multiple items. With all your purchases precisely tracked by CozZo’s inventories, you will never be in doubt about the things you already have in your home.

2. Plan your meals with a flexible approach that actually fits into your schedule.

Plan meals for the week or a specific day.

CozZo allows you to save your favorite recipes from cooking websites or discover new dishes by searching on ingredients or keywords. Time, diet, cuisine and intolerances filters can be used to tailor the search.

When you browse your recipe collections in CozZo you will immediately see what can be cooked with products in stock. On the “My Kitchen” page CozZo will show you only recipes that use products approaching the end of their shelf life.

From a recipe, you can add to your shopping list only the ingredients that you are missing or you can try to substitute them with what’s already in the pantry.

If you wish to plan ahead, CozZo has a truly versatile meal planner that not only supports weekly or specific-day meals but also lists all leftover dishes to make sure that nothing is forgotten to spoil.

3. Avoid throwing away food prematurely with CozZo realistic expiry date tracking system.

An NRDC and Harvard Law School study found that 90% of Americans bin food prematurely. A staggering fact! Largely the result is the uncertainty in reading expiration dates, confusion between the different types of labeling, and the misconception that the ‘best by’ is a safety warning.

To avoid all this label confusion, CozZo comes with a built-in shelf-life database that prescribes a realistic expiry for nearly 1500 common foods, which you are most likely to stock at home.  It also advises you as to where best to store a product – the fridge, the pantry, or the freezer. CozZo precisely tracks “Best By” and “Use By” dates for all food, including cooked dishes. Depending on the perishability of food, a red or green icon appears for products that have expired. You can see the date it was bought by tapping on it.

4. Monitor your monthly food reduction progress by following your personal or household food journal.

No progress is made without delight. Luckily, CozZo comes with a journal that gives you an up-to-date report of consumed vs. wasted food, as well as a detailed monthly product use breakdown. The stats accumulate as you mark the finished food with “Used up” and “Uneaten” buttons

By reducing your food waste you have built a solid core for waste-free living. Many other changes in wasteful habits will soon follow.

So start today with CozZo. And you don’t have to do it alone. Join everyone in CozZo Household Account.

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