8 Practical Ways to Reduce Food Waste: Save Money & Protect Our Planet

8 Practical Ways to Reduce Food Waste: Save Money & Protect Our Planet

Food waste, an issue of significant concern, remains a mammoth challenge faced by both individuals and businesses in the US today. Current estimates indicate that nearly half of all food produced annually in the country - almost a staggering 130 billion tons - ends up in the trash. This is not only a wasteful practice but also a potent contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change.

This situation calls for an urgent and concerted effort to solve the food waste problem. Innovative and practical strategies need to be devised and implemented, such as repurposing edible food, preventing spoilage, composting discarded food, and encouraging conscious consumerism. Such strategies are crucial to not only maintain the health of our planet but also reduce unnecessary expenditure.

This article presents an extensive and detailed list of ideas and recommendations to effectively combat food waste, starting from your kitchen, and extending to large-scale food waste management solutions.

 

1. Maintain an Organized Refrigerator

    The first place to start in your war against food waste is your fridge. Is the farthest corner of your fridge a no-man’s land where food goes to die? If so, you are not alone. A significant amount of food gets neglected and spoils simply because it is forgotten at the back of the fridge. An organized fridge is an effective solution to this problem.

    Adopting a structured system of clearly labeled and neatly stacked food storage can significantly reduce the likelihood of food getting overlooked and consequently spoiling. Plastic-free food storage is another key measure for ensuring your food stays fresh and hygienic. It not only helps reduce food waste but also minimizes exposure to harmful chemicals, like BPA and phthalates, that are often found in plastic storage containers.

    Reusable Food Storage Bags – Verte Mode

    To further aid in food organization, you can start by arranging the items in your fridge based on their expiration dates, with those needing to be consumed first placed in the most visible spots. Keeping a detailed list of your groceries, along with their use-by dates, can also help you stay on top of what needs to be consumed first.

     

    2. Invest in Proper Food Storage Solutions

    Proper food storage is a critical element in the fight against food waste. Plastic-free food storage options such as glass jars, beeswax wraps, silicone, stainless steel, and bamboo are not only safer but also more environmentally friendly. By upcycling used glass jars from other food products or repurposing other containers lying around the house, you can create effective, no-cost food storage solutions.

    Organic Cotton & Beeswax - Food Wraps – Verte Mode

     

    3. Learn How to Preserve Food

    Preserving food is another powerful strategy in reducing food waste. From freezing, pickling, fermenting, and dehydrating to canning and juicing, there are several methods that you can learn and employ to extend the life of your food.

    Organic Canvas Set of Net Shopping Bags – Verte Mode

    Freezing, the most convenient of these methods, can preserve food for months and even years when done properly. Pickling, an ancient practice, is another effective method, while fermenting, despite being a bit more challenging, can produce delicious results like sourdough, kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha. Dehydrating and canning are also potent methods of preserving food, and while they require some specialized tools and techniques, they can keep food safe to eat for years. Finally, juicing can give a second life to expiring fruits and veggies, while curing can preserve meats and fish for extended periods.

     

    4. Embrace “Ugly” Produce and Discounted Groceries

    Another impactful way to combat food waste is by buying "ugly" produce and discounted groceries. These are items that, despite being perfectly good to eat, are often discarded simply due to their appearance or impending sell-by dates. Some companies even offer subscription services that deliver "ugly" foods right to your doorstep, which makes this option even more convenient.

     

    5. Cook Smaller, More Appropriate Portions

    It's essential to consider the portion sizes of your meals in your quest to minimize food waste. Why cook for twelve when there are only one or two people eating? Cooking smaller meals that align with your actual consumption needs can drastically reduce leftovers and food waste.

    Organic Hand Screen-Printed 100% Cotton Dish Cover- Set of 2 – Verte Mode

    Meal planning can be a powerful tool in this regard, helping you plan just enough food for your needs and preventing you from overbuying groceries. Coordinating your meals to use similar ingredients across different recipes is another efficient way to use all your groceries before they spoil.

    6. Maximize the Use of All Ingredients

      A simple yet effective strategy to minimize food waste is to make the most out of every ingredient. If a recipe calls for something, aim to use it in its entirety. For instance, after cooking a turkey, the leftover bones and meat can be used to make nutritious broth and delicious sandwiches, soups, or casseroles.

      Organic Handmade Neem Wood Chopping Board/Platter – Verte Mode

      7. Get Creative with Food Scraps

        With a little creativity and resourcefulness, almost all food scraps can be used rather than discarded. Vegetable peels and scraps can be boiled into soup stock; soft fruits can be cooked into oatmeal or pancakes; stale bread can be turned into breadcrumbs or croutons; and wilted vegetables can be added to stir-fries, soups, or of breaking down compost.

         

        Black Gala Bifold Wallet - Crafted From Apple Peel – Verte Mode

        8. Composting

        There are a plethora of compost bins on the market that are sealed, smell-free, and entirely inoffensive in the aesthetic sense. All you have to do is add your food waste and let nature do its job.

        There are many benefits of composting, such as:

        • Saving you money on fertilizers for your home garden.
        • Improving the health of your garden soil.
        • Reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
        • Decreasing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills.
        • Helping combat climate change by reducing methane emissions from landfills.
        • Large-Scale Food Waste Management Solutions It's important to note that while individual actions matter, substantial changes come from system-wide solutions. Governments, businesses, and non-profits all have roles to play in establishing and promoting large-scale food waste management solutions.
        • Businesses, too, can make significant strides in this area. Some are now turning food waste into energy through anaerobic digestion, a process in which microorganisms break down organic material to produce biogas, a renewable energy source.
        • Non-profits also have a crucial role in this fight. Groups like Feeding America and the Food
        • Recovery Network work to rescue surplus food from grocery stores, restaurants, and farms and distribute it to those in need.
        • Many universities are doing their part by partnering with these organizations to create campus chapters committed to rescuing and redistributing leftover food from dining halls. 

         

        Compost

        These initiatives also provide an excellent opportunity for students to get involved and learn about the importance of sustainable food systems.

        Our food waste problem is considerable but not insurmountable. As consumers, we can take many steps to reduce food waste, from keeping our fridges organized and storing food properly to buying "ugly" produce and cooking smaller meals. At the same time, we must call on governments, businesses, and non-profits to implement large-scale solutions.

        There's no doubt that addressing food waste requires a multifaceted approach. It involves changes at the individual, community, and systemic levels. It's about rethinking our relationship with food, valuing it as a precious resource rather than something to be carelessly discarded.

        Reducing food waste is not just about doing less harm—it's about doing more good. It's about creating a food system that's resilient, sustainable, and just. It's about ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has access to nutritious, delicious food—today, tomorrow, and for decades to come.

         

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