Did you know that 40% of all food in the US is wasted? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a goal of cutting food waste to about 109 pounds per person by 2030. Compare this to the 2010 baseline of about 219 pounds per person. There are several other steps we can each take at home and in our everyday routines as well.
1 Grocery shopping
You can start minimizing waste from the pre-purchase stage of the food chain. Create a shopping list of ingredients and stick to it. Plan a week’s worth of meals to prepare. Then, buy exactly what and precisely how much you need for each meal.
In contrast, with preserved items, look for bulk deals, but make sure you buy in amounts that you can use before the expiration date.
2 Meal prep and eating habits
You’re eating habits can also play a part in increasing your food waste. Besides listing the ingredients you’ll need, note the foods you already have in the cupboard and fridge and cook with what you have. With the leftovers, save them for later or add them to other meals you’re preparing.
Make a list of things you’ll throw away soon. If the freezer can help you preserve some of those items, then move it there instead of the bin.
When dining out at a restaurant, ask about portion sizes and get the leftovers packed for home. Additionally, you might consider asking the waiter to split one large entree onto two plates for you and your partner to share. Or, if you’re not very hungry, you could choose two smaller appetizers instead of one large entree.
3 Food storage
Learning how to store food is important because it helps you save money and avoid food contamination. For instance, fruits like ripening bananas should be kept separate from other fruits and vegetables because they release gases that can spoil other foods.
Canning fruits and vegetables can make them last a long time. Modern pressure cookers make this process fairly easy. Here are some tips for home canning your fruits and veggies.
Also, make sure your refrigerator and freezer are functioning properly to keep the food items at the right temperature. If it’s not, hire a local professional by researching the best appliance repair in your area.
4 Donations and food gifts
Search for local food banks and donate surplus items from your pantry. AmpleHarvest is a resource that connects donors to food pantries nationwide. Sharing food is also a very neighborly gesture. Next time you make too many cookies, wrap them up and send them across the street to a neighbor.
5 Stay organized
Living in the age of artificial intelligence is helpful when it comes to solving the food waste problem. Use an app to keep track of what you consume and when. The Eatby App provides you with an inventory of your food and its shelf-life based on your unique storage environment.