From uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce, about 94% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. We can help reduce this number by changing our consumer habits at home, where a big part of food waste happens.

 

Benefits of Reducing Wasted Food

– Saves money from buying less food.

– Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.

– Conserves energy and resources, preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food.

– Supports your community by providing donated untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply.

 

Ways to Reduce Wasted Food

Planning, prepping, and storing food can help your household waste less food. Here are a few tips to do so: 

Planning Tips

– By making a list with weekly meals in mind, you can save money and time and eat healthier food. If you buy no more than what you expect to use, you will be more likely to keep it fresh and use it all.

– Keep a running list of meals and their ingredients that your household already enjoys.

– Make your shopping list based on how many meals you’ll eat at home. Will you eat out this week? How often?

– Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and buy only the things needed for those meals.

– Include quantities on your shopping list noting how many meals you’ll make with each item to avoid overbuying.

– Look in your refrigerator and cupboards first to avoid buying food you already have. 

 

Storage Tips

– Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables – especially abundant seasonal produce.

– Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, and store fruits and vegetables in different bins.

– Wait to wash berries until you want to eat them to prevent mold.

– If you like to eat fruit at room temperature, it should be stored in the refrigerator for maximum freshness; take what you’ll eat for the day out of the refrigerator in the morning. 

Prep Tips

– Prepare perishable foods soon after shopping.

– When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.

– Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.

– Cut your time in the kitchen by preparing and freezing meals ahead of time.

– Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month.

 

Thriftiness Tips

– Be mindful of old ingredients and leftovers you need to use up.

– Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more.

– Even if you have produce past its prime, it may still be fine for cooking: soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies.

– If safe and healthy, use the edible parts of food that you normally do not eat. For example, stale bread can be used to make croutons, beet tops can be sautéed for a delicious side dish, and vegetable scraps can be made into stock.

– Search for websites that provide suggestions for using leftover ingredients.