Instead of throwing away that leftover stalk of limp celery or crate of apples someone gave you that you just can’t use, do this with that extra food…
Food waste is a major problem in the U.S. today, with nearly half of all food produced being thrown away instead of consumed. Not only does this cause problems with air and water pollution surrounding landfill sites, but it is a huge waste of money and resources.
There are lots of ways that you can help reduce food waste at home by watching your purchasing habits, planning your meals in advance, and more, but if you end up with extra food that you can’t use, there are also plenty of things you can do with it rather than throwing it away and contributing to the food waste problem.
Below are 6 ideas from CashTheChecks.com for ways to use up extra food before it goes bad, or give it a new and more productive use that won’t add to our over-crowded landfills:
• Make a soup.
If some veggies are going limp, make them into a soup. It’s a great way to use up odds and ends such as 1 carrot or stalk of celery that you have leftover from another dish – and you can vary your soup every time by using whatever leftover veggies you have in the fridge.
• Eat the skin.
If it’s a potato, for example, or a carrot, why not eat the skin too? The outside of the fruit/veggie is sometimes just as nutritious, if not more, than the inside.
• Make compost.
Your food scraps can also be composted and turned into rich soil for your plants. Instead of wasting the nutrients, you are turning them into food for your garden! If you don’t have a garden, you can give the finished compost away to a neighbor, or donate it to a community garden.
• Feed it to the dog (or cat).
Trust me – they’re not as picky as you are. Just be sure to do a quick Google search on whether it’s safe to feed to your pet. If you have chickens, they also love all kinds of kitchen scraps!
• Give it away on Freecycle.
If you have an orange tree, for example, that gives you more oranges than you can handle, you can list it on Freecycle and someone can come pick them up. This way you’re not only reducing waste, but helping to feed your local community! If you have a lot of something like this, you can also donate extra food to a local homeless shelter or food bank – many of which accept produce as well as non-perishable items.
• Dig a hole in the garden.
If you don’t want your food waste to end up in the landfill, and you don’t have room for a compost pile or bin or don’t wish to make compost, you can just let Mother Nature (including worms) take care of your food waste for you. Dig a hole in your garden or yard and throw your food scraps in there. Cover them up, and let nature work its magic! You’ll enrich your soil, even without having to maintain a compost bin.
These tips are all great ways to keep food waste out of landfills, while putting your leftover food to good use in your garden, home, and community.