What we don’t hear so much is how much food waste we have. Did you know that Americans throw out approximately forty percent of our food annually? That would feed almost 1 billion people that don’t get to eat on a regular basis.
But we aren’t using that left-over food to feed the hungry. Instead we are filling up landfills with it. With food waste we are wasting other resources like energy and water that was used to manufacture, package then cook and serve that food.
Fortunately, we can take steps to be more careful about in the consumption of food and reduce the food waste we generate:
Plan On It: It just a well-known rule you don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach. What too many of us do though is go the grocery store without a list. Plan your week’s meals and make a list then stick to it. This way you’re less likely to food waste.
Track Your Trash: Create a weekly log of the food waste you have. Once you see a pattern or trend, you can note what NOT to buy.
Food Kitchen Donations:
Until you do get a better grip on your weekly food waste, don’t just toss it in the garbage. There are people in every area of the country that would be appreciative of a free meal or just a few groceries.
For expiration dates to do you any good, you need to understand them. You could be throwing out what you think is food waste when it is actually still good. Unlike medication, expiration dates on food items are referring to the quality of the food not the safety. Pay attention to the difference between “sell-by” date and “use-by” date. Now if the cheese is green and the yogurt is curdled, toss them!
It is amazing how many people won’t eat leftovers. And it’s understandable that you don’t want the same meal for five consecutive nights. But leftovers don’t have to be boring. There are many ways to make leftovers delicious and not food waste, just surf the internet. And if you can’t find a recipe, freeze them for another week!
Start A Compost Pile:
You don’t have to have a backyard or a farm to be eco-friendly with leftovers. When you start a compost pile, you are simply recycling nutrients back into the system and keeping food waste out of the landfills and waterways. Check your local community and see if they have a compost pile or even a local school that is teaching kids how to garden will be glad to take you food waste.
Doggie Bag It:
If you can’t finish a restaurant meal, ask for a left-over container and take it home. Restaurant left-overs make great meals the next day or that midnight snack later. Your fellow diners will be impressed with your efforts to avoid food waste and you just may start a new trend among your group.