How to Reduce Food Waste in 9 Simple and Easy Steps
Have you ever gone through your fridge looking for a good snack only to find your food was expired, old, or even moldy? If you’re like me it’s not only frustrating having to throw out food you looked forward to eating but also that cost you money and energy to get. Food waste has become an epidemic and not only can it be frustrating and wasteful, but it is very damaging as well. This article will go over 9 steps that anyone can follow to easily reduce their food waste.
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Why Reduce Food Waste?
Before we learn how to reduce our food waste we need to know why it’s so important.
There’s Too Much
We are producing so much food waste it is truly sad. According to one report 1/3 of all the food produced for human consumption around the world is wasted and thrown into landfills. The average American household alone wastes 14% of their food purchases. Not only are we throwing away perfectly good food but once that food is in a landfill it is no longer able to decompose due to the lack of oxygen and starts creating methane gas which is one of the worst green house gases. In fact our food waste is so bad that if it were a country it would be the third worst greenhouse gas polluter in the world.
On top of all this we are wasting money as well, estimates include a family of four throwing out nearly $600 worth of food every year. Clearly we need to do something about this. So I have gathered a list of 9 easy ways that anyone can do to reduce their food waste.
1. Meal Planning
The first step to reducing our food waste is making sure that when we buy food we know we are going to eat it. Plan out all of your meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and maybe even dessert) for the week and buy only the items and ingredients needed from your list. Buying just whatever looks and sounds good is not a very good idea unless you know you will be able to eat it all up before it goes bad.
2. Buy “Ugly” Produce
If your grocery market has the option to buy discounted “ugly” produce-take it! Most of the food that gets wasted is because the fruit or veggies are not pretty enough to sell, so buying these perfectly good fruits and veggies saves them from the land fill and even saves you some money.
3. Proper Food Storage
Another big reason food gets wasted is that it was stored improperly and therefore went bad too soon. Simply googling tips on food storage for your groceries (or often times looking at the label) can prevent you from wasting lots of food. This has helped me so much! For example I keep all of my fruits in the fridge-including apples and pairs-and I have noticed that they last so much longer! They last me well over a week in the fridge and only 4-5 days when left on my counter. I also love using these wax food wraps to cover my leftovers or cut up fruits and veggies and it protects them and keeps them good much longer!
4. Control Portions
When both making, buying, and serving food using the proper portions will not only help your weight but will also reduce the waste you produce. Ordering too much food at a restaurant or serving too much to a guest-or even yourself!-can make it difficult to reduce waste because the extra will likely get thrown away. Because of this ensuring the right amount of food on everyones plates reduces waste in our landfills.
Sometimes tip #4 doesn’t always work out or you are not able to control this factor, so when this happens taking home your leftovers is a great way to dix this problem. Intentionally making enough food for leftovers can also save you time and money because you can use them again in the week allowing you to make less meals. Designating a day a week to leftovers is another great way to ensure that the food is getting all used up and eaten.
6. Don’t Forget Your Freezer!
Freezing leftover food or food that is likely to go bad soon prolongs it’s life until you are ready to eat it. Check your freezer regularly to make sure you don’t forget about your meals.
Keeping your fridge organized is a very easy way to know everything you have in it and to remember when things are about to go bad. You can even organize your fridge by food date that way you know what you need to use up first. I always switch my new food to the back and my old food to the front so I can use up whats about to go bad first.
This has been the easiest and best way for me to reduce my food waste! I rarely throw food in the trash now due to composting all of my food scraps! Composting gives food waste a new life as soil for plants by allowing it to fully decompose and return to the earth. No methane from this food waste-just delicious plant food.
If you aren’t sure how to compost yourself or don’t have your own bin-no worries! You can read my article on how to compost without your own bin.
Lastly if you have food you know you won’t be able to use perhaps you can donate it to a food drive or a local shelter. Always check what their guidelines are to make sure your food qualifies!
It doesn’t take much to reduce our food waste. All you need is a little extra planning, organizing and storing to save your budget and protect our planet. It only takes a few more minutes each week and a little bit of extra thought to prevent food waste-surely that is something we can all do!
Which of these tips have you tried? Share your experiences with me in the comments!