We have all done it many times, thrown perfectly good food into the trash. You might think this is not a big issue, just an unhappy accident of over consuming, but the problem is bigger than that.
According to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance25 to 40% of food grown, processed, and transported in the United States will never be consumed. This waste is upsetting because 1 in 6 people in the United States suffer from hunger.
Food waste is also terrible for the environment. Most food waste finds its way to landfills where it will decompose and release the greenhouse gas methane. In the United States landfills are responsible for 1/3 of methane emissions.
Another environmental issue is wasted food is wasted resources, like the energy, and water used in agricultural practices.
Below I have put together some tips to reduce food waste in your daily life. Many of these tips may seem obvious but are often forgotten.
Use Common Sense Instead of Relying Solely on Food Packaging Dates
Labels on food are not USDA or FDA regulated and are mainly used to help stores maintain their inventory. These dates imply when the product is at its peak in quality, but the food may still be edible after the date. Use your best judgment and sense of smell instead of solely relying on the labeling.
Be Mindful of What Is In Your Fridge
Use what will go bad first, first. Be aware of what is in your fridge and how long it will likely last.
Be sure to check the contents of your fridge before you go food shopping.
Instead of Taking One Large Shopping Trip a Week Take A Few Smaller Ones
Perishables like fruit and vegetables have a short shelf life. Instead of buying a week’s worth of healthy goodies only to have a majority go bad before you get the chance to use them, go on smaller shopping trips throughout the week to ensure freshness.
Only Buy What You Will Use
Just because a larger size of a perishable is a better value doesn’t mean you should buy it. If you don’t plan on eating yogurt everyday do not buy a large tub that would take you months to consume.
On a similar note only put on your plate what you plan to eat, you are more likely to save the food for another day if you don’t feel like the food has been “tainted” by a dirty plate.
Bring Leftovers For Lunch
If you make too much for a meal, instead of throwing it out, save it for lunch the next day. Not only does this reduce waste but if you’re on a budget it will help you save money.
This is also true for when you go out to eat. There is nothing wrong with taking a “doggy bag” because if you don’t the food will just go in the trash.
Composted food can be used for gardening. Give your food the second life it deserves instead of sending it to the landfill.
For more information and tips check out this article at Clean Techies on Food Waste which includes a helpful/education graphic by fix.com.