Some estimates say that as much as one-third of food produced globally winds up wasted or spoiled. As you might imagine, that number gets even larger in wealthier nations like the U.S., even while millions of American go hungry.
Here are four easy, practical food waste solutions that can aid you in reducing food waste. You’ll find that a lot of these food waste solutions will help you save money even as you’re doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint.
One easy method for reducing food waste is simply to start off with less food to begin with. It’s tempting to stock up or buy in bulk when grocery shopping to try to avoid making another trip to the store, but the more you have in your fridge, the more likely something is going to spoil before you get around to eating it—especially if your refrigerator or pantry is so stuffed that some of your older items wind up buried in the back where you can’t see them.
Try going into the grocery store with a shopping list that you intend to stick to. Consider this list a game plan of what meals you intend on eating in the next few days and what specifically you need in order to prepare them. This can help reduce impulse buying, which should save you money too!
When you get back home from the store, make it a point to use everything you bought up before going back to the store. Making smaller, more frequent trips to the store rather than loading up once every week or two can help you here too.
Even if you start buying a more manageable amount of groceries, some of them may still go to waste if they spoil due to improper storage. A lot of people are unsure about where to store fruits and vegetables which can lead them to ripen prematurely and, naturally, rot prematurely too.
Here are some quick tips on where certain produce items should go in your kitchen that can help you in reducing food waste:
Refrigerator: Green beans, lettuce, leafy greens, mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, corn, celery, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, grapes, berries, cherries, beets, turnips, yellow squash, cucumber
Pantry: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, garlic, tomatoes, winter squash
Countertop: Bananas, avocados, peaches, plums. (Many of these fruits emit ethylene gas, which can cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen and rot faster.)
Leftovers aren’t just for Thanksgiving! Chances are that even when you do save your leftovers, that Tupperware container winds up getting forgotten in the fridge and ultimately thrown away once it goes bad. Not only is this wasteful of food, it’s a waste of money and time too, as you wind up buying or preparing a whole other meal when you have one ready and waiting for you.
If you find leftovers just aren’t getting eaten, consider designating a day each week to use up whatever’s accumulated in the fridge. If you buy your lunch at work each day, consider bringing leftovers for lunch instead. Freezing food allows you to preserve your leftover food for longer too.
Not all food waste results from food you don’t get around to eating. Cooking meals can often come with heaps of food scraps that you find you have no use for. Consider reducing food waste by turning those food scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer by composting.
If you have a garden yourself, you can use the compost as fertilizer for your plants, and if you don’t, you can likely find services in your area who will pick up your compost bin regularly. This is a particularly good option for city dwellers, without any green space to call their own.
Try implementing these food waste solutions today and you will be reducing food waste before you know it!
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