Did you know that nearly 40% of the food produced in the United States ends up in the landfill? And about 95% of this discarded food ends up in landfills or combustion facilities where it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas production. If global food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China (1). Crazy, right?!
To cut down on your food waste, try the following:
• Make a Plan (and stick to it!)
Map out your weekly shopping list and meal plan. What will you get from the farmers market? What will you get from the grocery store? You’re less likely to overbuy when you have a list and (bonus!) having a meal plan will save you the time wondering what’s for dinner. Need some help? Check out this resource.
• Learn to Love Leftovers
Stock up on glass storage containers to pack up extra food. The clear containers make it easier to see what you have and increase the likelihood you’ll use your leftovers. Keeping your fridge organized will also ensure you don’t forget about what you have. For creative ideas on how to refresh your leftovers visit: https://www.notsosloppyseconds.com/
• Use the Freezer
If you can’t eat all the leftovers you packaged up, don’t be afraid to throw them in the freezer for later use. If you have a hard time eating raw vegetables before they spoil, buy frozen or freeze them yourself.
• Store your Food Correctly
Berries unwashed in the fridge. Tomatoes on the counter. Eggplant at room temp for 1-2 days. Learn more here. http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/07/26/where-food-goes-in-the-fridge/
• Consider Best-by and Sell-by Dates Guidelines
Food is often fine well beyond these dates. Use your best judgement and if the food doesn’t contain any high-risk products (meat, dairy, etc.) or smell spoiled, it is likely OK to consume.
For more ideas on how you can reduce food waste at home, visit these sites:
Kelly Wilson, RDN is TLD’s SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator. She owns Taste of Health Nutrition where she helps people sort through the nutrition noise and create plans tailored to their health and wellness goals. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Courtesy of Scarce.org