Reduce Food Waste
Food waste might not seem like a huge problem in many households. You throw away some produce on one day and maybe some leftovers the next day, but all of that food adds up.
The average American household throws away 32% of the food that it buys, according to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. And that adds up to a lot of wasted money as well: $1,500 each year for a family of four, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Then, you have to consider the larger environmental impacts. Tons of food waste wind up in landfills, and that ultimately contributes to the release of harmful methane emissions. However, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your food waste.
Of course, it’s helpful to limit the amount of food coming into your home. That means thinking carefully about how much food you need and not straying too far from your grocery list. Beyond that, however, if you track how much food you throw away on a weekly basis and assign a cost to that, you might find yourself throwing away less food in the long run.
Print out a copy of this food waste log and hang it on your refrigerator to remind yourself of how much food your family throws away each week.
It’s also helpful to know how best to preserve the freshness of your food for the maximum amount of time possible. For example, you can prevent your brown sugar from going hard by storing it with marshmallows or apples.
Or, as another example, you should store celery in foil, not plastic, to keep it fresher for longer. Print out this food saver cheat sheet and attach it to your refrigerator to remind yourself of storage best practices.
Finally, much food is unnecessarily wasted because “best by” dates have passed. However, it’s important to know that these dates are largely just suggestions and not health requirements put forth by the U.S. government. For example, hard cheese might last one month past its listed date, and applesauce could last about a year and a half past its listed date.
Print out this resource, attach it to your refrigerator and remind yourself that “best by” dates are often just suggestions.
Download all of these refrigerator resources for reducing food waste created by the team at Wikibuy.