OT Wedding Wednesday: What To Do If You're Concerned About Food Wastage

A key focus of a zero-waste and sustainable wedding is ensuring that food waste is accounted for. Here's what you should do to keep leftover food at a minimum on your special day
Food wastage at weddings
An average Indian wedding generates nearly 700-800kgs of food waste across two daysstockpexel/Shutterstock.com

One of the most ubiquitous scenes anyone will encounter at an Indian wedding is the rows of buffet containers containing a smorgasbord of food. It is not uncommon to see half-eaten plates and food and utensils mixed in one garbage bin after the catering service ends. According to Ashwin Malwade from Greenmyna, a sustainable curator of events, an average Indian wedding generates nearly 700-800kgs of food waste across two days.

We have handpicked five ways you can ensure a zero-waste event during your wedding functions.

Ask Guests To RSVP

Emphasise to your guests the importance of RSVP-ing to the wedding invite
Emphasise to your guests the importance of RSVP-ing to the wedding inviteAle_Koziura/Shutterstock

You cannot plan for how much food will be served if you don’t have a head count of the number of people who will be attending or the type of dietary requirements they will have. Emphasise to your guests the importance of RSVP-ing to the wedding invite.

Hire A Caterer With Experience

Hire caterers who have experience in serving zero-waste weddings
Hire caterers who have experience in serving zero-waste weddingsSvetype26/Shutterstock

Hire caterers who have experience in serving zero-waste weddings. They will guide you on how they handle leftover waste whether that means donating the food to homelessness charities and soup kitchens, composting, or packing tiffins and lunchboxes for guests to take home. Bonus points if you can serve the meals in biodegradable, compostable or reusable utensils.

Malwade suggests liaising with your caterers to ensure that they use eco-friendly serveware and eliminate single-use plastic water bottles by replacing them with alternatives.

In addition to this, hire a waste management company if your caterers do not already have a system in place to deal with excess food. This would mean properly labelled bins for dry and wet waste to go into, among other measures.

Tie-Up With An NGO

Find a local organisation in your wedding destination that donates leftover food to those in need
Find a local organisation in your wedding destination that donates leftover food to those in needDenis.Vostrikov/Shutterstock

The No Food Waste initiative in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu redistributes surplus food from large-scale events like weddings to nursing homes, orphanages and slums. They operate across cities such as Coimbatore, Chennai, Salem, Erode, Tadepalligudem and New Delhi. Find a local organisation in your wedding destination that works on food waste reduction like the Robin Hood Army and Feeding India.

Plan A Seasonal Menu

Work with your caterers to plan a menu that uses ingredients which are in season
Work with your caterers to plan a menu that uses ingredients which are in seasonSanthosh Varghese/Shutterstock

Work with your caterers to plan a menu that uses ingredients which are in season. Out-of-season produce can come with quality issues and higher costs. Also consider a farm-to-table approach where locally-grown food is served up and cooked at the venue. Not only will this reduce food waste and respect the environment but also show your guests that in season wedding food can be delicious, too.

Consider A Kids' Section

Create a special section for kids to help your serving staff provide them with the right quantity
Create a special section for kids to help your serving staff provide them with the right quantitySanthosh Varghese/Shutterstock

Children typically pile on a lot of food on their plate but tend to finish only half of it. Create a special section for kids to help your serving staff provide them with the right quantity, thereby ensuring minimal food is wasted.

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