Want to make a difference for the planet this year? Make a resolution to reduce food waste in 2019 with these simple tips!
Food waste is a huge problem in the United States, with some estimates showing that as much as 40% of all food produced goes to waste.
While a lot of this waste comes from restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions, you can do your part to reduce food waste at home with a few simple tweaks to your buying and eating habits. Not only will you be doing a good thing for the planet, you will also save yourself money on food that was otherwise wasted, which is basically throwing money in the trash! Why not make a Resolution right now to cut your food waste as much as possible in 2019?
Here are 5 simple things you can do in your own household, starting now, to reduce food waste while shopping, eating, and in the garden:
1.) Shop Smart. Becoming conscious of food waste means elevating meal planning to an exact science. To the extent possible, plan your weekly food supply in advance and buy only what you need. Purchases made on a whim are often those that sit on the shelf at home until they are stale or rotten, eventually ending up in the garbage. The old-fashioned approach of making a shopping list based on recipe quantities can go a long way toward preventing the purchase of unnecessary items, but today there are a host of food shopping apps designed specifically for the waste-conscious consumer.
2.) Buy Ugly Produce! A tremendous amount of the food produce never makes it to the grocery store shelf, because of blemishes, overripeness, small size, or other imperfections – nothing that makes it inedible. But that’s changing, as “ugly produce” becomes a new niche market. For example, Whole Foods just announced a partnership with Imperfect Produce, one of many recent startups on a mission to re-route produce destined for the compost pile or landfill.
3.) Play the No Food Waste Game. Don’t let your mission to reduce food waste feel like a hardship in your household. Experiment! Be creative! Being efficient with food can be a game for the whole family. Track your progress each week by weighing how much you throw out and use a food emissions calculator to determine the negative environmental impacts avoided in the process. Efficiency, of course, also has economic implications: While your kids are learning math and science lessons through reducing food waste, you can analyze the potential impact on your monthly food bill.
4.) Preserve the Harvest. If you grow your own food, you are probably familiar with the excessive bounty that some crops can provide! However, excess of a particular crop doesn’t result in wasted food if you can find a way to preserve it for later. Freezing, canning, and drying are essential skills in a waste-conscious household. Rather then view these tasks as chores, plan a food preservation party with your gardening friends where everyone brings their excess produce to the table and exchanges recipes and techniques.
5.) Compost. We will never prevent every last lettuce leaf from going bad, but that is less of an issue if it goes back to the land, rather than into the landfill. Composting converts food waste into an asset for food production, whether in your own backyard or on farmland – if you can’t eat it yourself, let the worms enjoy it!