Reduce Food Waste

Food waste is a big problem in the United States. According to Feeding America, 25-40% of the food grown, processed, and transported in the US will never be eaten. Food is the number one source of solid  waste in American landfills. Food waste is not only bad for the environment, but it also means wasted money for your family.

There are steps you can take to keep waste to a minimum at your home.

  1. Plan meals and snacks carefully. Buy what you need and make a point of using any perishable foods like fresh fruits and vegetables before they spoil. Don’t know what to do with your leftovers? Utah State University has a collection of resources called “Create” that is all about making use of leftovers in new and interesting ways.
  2. Be food safe. Store food appropriately and keep perishable products at a safe temperature. Keep your refrigerator at or below 40º F. Store raw meats in a container or dish to prevent juices from leaking.
  3. Check for quality. Check the dates on foods when you’re shopping. If you purchase meat or other perishables with a short use by date, plan to cook or freeze them quickly.
  4. Stay organized. Keeping your refrigerator and cupboards organized will help you prevent waste. You’ll be more aware of what is in it and what needs to get used quickly. Arrange supplies so the oldest items are in front so you will see and use them first. Use see-through storage containers for leftovers. Label, date, and freeze them in meal-size servings. Always check your leftover supply when meal planning so you can work them into your plan.
  5. Freeze what you can. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has tools to help you decide what to freeze and how to do it in a way that maintains the food’s quality and safety.
  6. Donate. If you have non-perishable food that is not expired, but your family can’t use it, donate it to your local food pantry.