While many believe that food waste is benign, breaking down easily at a landfill, in fact, most food that ends up there produces methane gas without the air and light needed for it to decompose properly. In addition, the average household throws away a third of the food it buys each week—a huge money waster. Follow these tips from The Daily Green to reduce what you send to the landfill and save money.
- Make a grocery list, and stick to it. A list encourages you to check for ingredients you already have, so you only shop for what you need. Don’t stray from the list, and never shop when you’re hungry! It’s difficult to avoid temptation with a growling stomach.
- Keep a healthy fridge. Be sure your fridge is not left open or leaking. The temperature should be between 34 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit so food stays freshest the longest.
- Be creative with produce and leftovers. Soft fruit can be made into smoothies, fruit pies or quickbreads. Wilting vegetables can be used in soup. Try a leftover bit of tuna in a new pasta dish, or a tablespoon of cooked vegetables as the base for a crockpot recipe.
- Rotate items. Put all new items in the back of fridge, and move older items to the front. You’ll be more inclined to eat the older stuff first.
- Reduce portions. Serve small amounts of food knowing that people can come back for seconds once they’ve cleared their plate. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge and used later.
- Buy only what you need. Choose loose fruits and vegetables, and meats and cheeses from the deli instead of in pre-packaged containers, so you only buy exactly what you need.
- Freeze! If you only eat a small amount of bread, throw the loaf in the freezer, and defrost slices as you need them. Likewise, cook foods in batches so you have meals ready for those evenings when you’re too tired to cook.
- Turn waste into garden food. Some food waste is unavoidable. The Daily Green recommends setting up a compost bin for fruit and vegetable peelings. In a few months, you’ll end up with rich, valuable compost for your plants. iBi