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Each day, Americans toss out enough food to fill the Rose Bowl stadium! As much as 40% of edible food in the United States goes uneaten. That’s a drain on your wallet of between $28-$43 a month. All that uneaten, but perfectly good, food doesn’t just lay waste to your budget, it rots in landfills and pollutes the planet.
While your virtual self is looking for spare change in that mountain of food trash, we’ve got good news: With a little mindfulness, there are easy ways to reduce your foodprint and put money back in your pocket!
Net-Zero Your Fridge. Before you restock, make sure it’s emptied of all edible food. If you really must stick to a shopping schedule, try freezing, canning or preserving foods.
Befriend Your Freezer. Most frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Freeze leftovers if you won’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad.
FIFO Your Meals. Plan and cook meals using the “First In, First Out” rule. Place the most recently bought items toward the back so older items, in the front, are used first.
Love Leftovers. Look for recipes that will help you get creative with using leftovers.
Shop Smarter. Plan your shopping and avoid impulse buys. If you have no idea how much food your family wastes in a month, do what restaurants do to manage profit and loss: keep a log of what you buy and what you throw away.
Get Savvy about Expiration Dates. “Sell-by” and “use-by” dates are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. The dates are not federally regulated to indicate safety, except on certain baby foods. Not sure if you should keep a food or toss it? Search online for a shelf life guide.
Bought Too Much? Donate or Compost. Non-perishable and unspoiled food can be donated to a food bank, soup kitchen, church, or a neighbor in need. Perishable food you can’t donate can be composted to recycle their nutrients and nourish the planet.
Use the Resources List to access charts, instructions, and tools to help you reduce your footprint.
Turn Leftovers into Great Meals: Love Food – Hate Waste website: www.lovefoodhatewaste.com
How to Know Your Food Waste. https://snapguide.com/guides/know-your-food-waste/
(also search online for ‘household food waste journal or log’)
National Center for Home Food Preservation. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_home.html
Keep it or Toss It- Shelf Life Guide. http://stilltasty.com
Refrigerator & Freezer Storage Chart. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/UCM109315.pdf
Simple Food Preservation Methods. Mother Earth Living. http://www.motherearthliving.com/cooking-methods/food-preservation-methods-zmoz12sozmel.aspx
Tools for Assessing Wasted Food. http://www2.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/tools-assessing-wasted-food
How to Compost Kitchen Waste. Home & Garden TV. http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/how-to-compost-kitchen-waste
Feeding America – Food Donation Programs. http://www.feedingamerica.org/ways-to-give/give-food/become-a-product-partner/national-produce-program.html
Reducing Wasted Food Basics. http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-basics
Sustainable and Fair Eating Habits. Think-Eat-Save. http://www.thinkeatsave.org/index.php/top-tips-on-reducing-food-waste/14-food-waste-campaign/247-sustainable-and-fair-eating-habits
Jensen, Brennen. “America’s Food Waste Problem is Bigger than You Think.” Johns Hopkins Magazine (Fall 2015). Accessed on Nov 12, 2015 http://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2015/fall/america-food-waste
Lipinski, B. et al. “Reducing Food Loss and Waste.” Working Paper, Installment 2 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future. (2013). Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. Available online at http://www.worldresourcesreport.org
Food is simply too good to waste. Natural Resources Defense Council: Environmental Issues- Food and Agriculture. Statistics last updated September 18, 2013. http://www.nrdc.org/food/food-waste.asp
(refers to the dollar figure shown in paragraph number one)
Sustainable Management of Food. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www2.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food