The United States has more food waste than any other country—as much as 40 million tons of discarded food a year—food that is clogging landfills, releasing harmful toxins into the air and putting a serious strain on our planet.
If that’s not enough to concern you, consider that the bruised fruit, rotted lunchmeat and moldy bread you toss out is money out of your pocket and down the drain. The good news is that making a few easy changes to our kitchen habits puts some of that money back in your pocket and makes a huge impact on climate change.
- Shop Smarter – Planning meals ahead will stop you from scattershot shopping and help you stock your fridge and pantry food more strategically. Consider shopping more frequently, as most Europeans do, using food as you purchase it so that it’s at its freshest and is less likely to go to waste.
- Keep the Fridge Organized – How many times have you thrown out food because you simply forgot it was in the fridge? Store foods properly for greatest shelf life and get in the habit of checking the contents every day or two and using what is nearing its use-by date.
- Repurpose the Leftovers – Leftovers are an important part of reducing food waste. Many foods, like stews and pasta dishes taste even better the second time around. Get creative by putting bruised fruit into smoothies, and leftover meats and veggies into a hearty soup, or use them in salads, rice bowls or other dishes.
- Take Note of What You Toss – For several weeks, write down what foods you throw out. It may help you shop smarter if you realize you tend to overbuy eggs or bananas or that you always buy kale or spinach intending to cook it but don’t.
- Save the Scraps – Stale bread can be frozen and used later to make croutons, stuffing or bread pudding. Or, use it to feed the birds. Toss vegetable scraps into a pot of water and make fresh vegetable broth.
- Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies – Frozen produce can last months instead of days, will be good whenever you need them and taste just about as good in many recipes as fresh produce.