Help the Environment and Save Money by Reducing Food Waste
Reduce food waste and Be good to yourself and the environment
Food waste is a big problem for the environment and to the global economy. Around one-third of the nation's food supply in the USA is thrown away.
Food that is disposed of in landfills can also generate methane which is one of the worst greenhouse gases. It is also said that by reducing food waste millions of Americans could be fed.
We as individuals are not the only ones causing food waste. Big companies are also to blame and are large contributors to this issue.
It's good news that the US government has announced the first-ever national food waste reduction goal. This goal is calling for a 50% reduction by 2030.
Below is a list of things that you could do to help reduce food waste and you may even save yourself some money in the process.
Minimizing food waste in our own kitchens and gardens takes planning, a knowledge of proper storage techniques, and a willingness to use what’s on your shelves.
Here’s a short list of practical tips and suggestions to help you avoid wasting food in your refrigerator, during preparation, and on your dinner plates.
- Take stock of what’s already in your kitchen before menu planning and shopping.
- Plan ahead to use up perishable items such as fruit and vegetables as they ripen.
- Pay attention to expiration dates. Many foods will last longer than the “sell-by” date stamped on their packaging. Always err on the side of caution. Never use any foodstuff that smells bad or off in any way.
- Keep items you already have forward on cupboard and refrigerator shelves. Don’t let items become hidden as you unload groceries. Make sure the new items go behind the ones you already have.
- Avoid buying in bulk if you can’t consume everything you buy. (A big family is often a prerequisite for bulk non-wasteful bulk buying.)
- When buying from bulk bins at your Co-op or natural food store, buy only the amount you need. Don’t be tempted to buy more.
- Make a habit of unpacking lunch boxes after school with your children to see what was and wasn’t consumed. Change the menu and portions with your child’s help accordingly.
- Get creative with leftovers. If all those Brussels sprouts weren’t consumed the first go around, plan a casserole or stir-fry for the next meal which they can be included.
- Get creative with foods before they expire or go bad. Make croutons with stale bread, add canned beans to soups, and make a cream sauce with long-held half-and-half. As lemons go soft and ripe, make lemonade.
- Transfer products like cereal from the boxes they were packaged into jars or other air-tight, glass containers. (If you eat your cereal up within a few days of openings this isn’t necessary.)
- Have a garden? Learn to can, pickle, freeze, dehydrate, and otherwise preserve your harvest. Raise a lot of apples, onions, carrots, or other root vegetables. Consider a root cellar.
- Have food that you’ll never use? Consider a donation to your local food bank.