12 Ways to Combat Food Waste
Editors’ Note: This post comes to you from Bob Lilienfeld, editor of The ULS Report, a highly respected and widely read newsletter aimed at spreading the benefits of source reduction (ULS means Use Less Stuff). He is known all over the world for his work in the areas of source reduction and waste prevention. Below are this thoughts on combatting food waste.
It’s estimated that 40% of the food we produce is wasted – thrown away, to be exact.
The waste goes deeper than the food – much deeper. According to a recent National Resources Defense Council paper on U.S. food waste, 10% of energy consumption goes for food production, 50% of land use is for food, and 80% of all freshwater consumed is for food production and processing.
The good news is that it really doesn’t have to be this way. The even better news is that keeping excess greens, grains and gouda out of the trash is simple to do and will keep extra green in your pocket, too. Here’s how:
Before you shop
1. Go through your pantry, fridge and freezer. Check what’s on hand and also check the dates and condition of leftovers so that you know what’s about to expire or spoil.
2. Use this information to make a weekly meal plan based upon what you already have, with emphasis on using the most perishable items. Make a list of what you don’t have at home to complete meals, and buy from the list.
3. Not sure what to do with some of the stuff? Consult a cookbook. In many cases you can go online and use a search engine to find the words “recipe” and the key ingredients you have on hand. These cool apps could help, too.
At the store
4. Buy from the list, and stick to it.
5. Avoid sales on produce if the food is very ripe, and you’re not prepared to eat it right away. You’ll end up tossing much of it.
6. Don’t make impulse purchases of items that you don’t use regularly. They might spoil before you ever get to them.
7. Stick to what your family will eat. Studies have shown that experimentation usually leads to fermentation – kids especially don’t like to deviate too far from the tried and true.
8. Shop after you’ve eaten. You really do buy less.
Preparing, Serving and Storing
9. Prepare only what you need for this meal. Break down unused meats into smaller, easy-to-use quantities. Wrap, label and place in the freezer.
10. Serve smaller portions. Let people take seconds, rather than overfilling their plates.
11. Pack up leftovers in tight containers. Label with the day served and type of food.
12. Store leftovers and other perishables in the front of the fridge or freezer, so they can be easily seen.
Remember what grandma said: Waste not, want not. Bon appétit!
* Bob was compensated for this blog post.
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