Food waste has been a huge problem in the US. More food goes to a landfill than goes into our own mouths.
According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 95 percent of the food we toss in the garbage ends up in landfills or a combustion facility. Condensing food waste lowers methane emissions and conserves resources. As reported by the EPA, in 2014 more than 38 million tons of food waste found its way into landfills. Don’t feel guilty, there are many simple and easy ways you can cut back on food waste, which can benefit your budget, too! Here are five tips to help reduce food waste.
1. Shop sensibly.
Don’t buy too much food. Its important to ask yourself, “Am I going to eat this?” Plan out your meals ahead of time and purchase just enough. Make a grocery list and stick to it. Try not to wander endlessly down grocery aisles and shop with your stomach. Never go to the market when you’re hungry. And shop with awareness.
2. Give composting a try.
Enjoy gardening? Imagine a free fertilizer that you make by yourself! Instead of tossing out the scraps that you snack on, turn them into a nutrient-packed fertilizer for your garden. Compost scraps from old fruits, veggies, coffee grounds, loose-leaf tea and even used napkins! (Just make sure they’re not synthetic). Instead of tossing leftovers in the trash to head to a landfill, compost them!
3. First in, first out.
Putting older products in the front of your fridge and new products in the back helps you consume the products that will expire first. This way, food doesn’t go bad. This system helps you cycle your food in accordance to their expiration dates.
4. Purchase the Ugly Produce.
Grocery stores have a high standard when it comes to what the produce looks like. Chances are your average shopper isn’t going to pick up the deformed carrots or the disfigured turnips, which results in the grocery store tossing the unappealing produce at the end of the week. That leads to a lot of food waste. Unless you are putting the food on display, the physical appearance of produce is irrelevant. The nutrients are found inside the fruits and veggies, not the outside!
Take a peek into your pantry and around your kitchen. If you come across anything you don’t plan to use, donate it to your local food bank. This eliminates food waste and supports nonprofits in your local community. Find a food bank near you!
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