11 Tips for Reducing Food Waste and Living a More Sustainable Life

It’s estimated that 40% of all food produced in the world is wasted. That equates to $1 trillion worth of food every year. The reality is, we waste tons of money and resources when it comes to our food production- but there are a lot of ways you can reduce your own personal contribution by following these tips!

Plan Your Meals

It’s always a good idea to have an agenda when you’re shopping, but it can be especially important if you know what recipes will make up for your weekly dinners. By checking the grocery store flyers and having everything on hand before heading out of the door, we’ll all save time and money in our kitchens.  You’ll also be less likely to throw things out that you bought on a whim and didn’t end up using before the due date.

Freeze Leftovers

A freezer is a great way to save all the healthy stuff you get from farmers’ markets or your friend’s garden. You can use it for meal prep, stews, and even making soup at home!

Cook the Right Serving Amounts

If you’re cooking for two, consider cutting the recipe in half to avoid wasting your time with leftovers. Alternatively, plan ahead and save some of those homemade TV dinners!

Buy the Weird Veggies

You’re in luck because sometimes, supermarkets discard produce. Do yourself a favor and give your grocer the once over to see when they sell strange-shaped or ugly fruits and vegetables- you may be able to save some cash while helping reduce food waste!

Use the Old First

As you put food away, make sure to use the old items before using the new ones. For shelf-stable foods like mayonnaise that are not refrigerated until opening them, keep out of the fridge and consume within a week’s time so they don’t spoil!

Have a Leftover Day

The idea of a leftovers night is genius. There are so many tasty dishes that you can enjoy even just with what’s leftover from the week before, and cooking all those delicious meals at once will give you more time to spend on other things!

Conduct Inventory Regularly

You’ll save money and time by making a list of your favorite dishes, noting what ingredients are needed for each dish. Next, go through the refrigerator or pantry so you don’t miss anything!

Before shopping today it might be good to take inventory of all that’s in your fridge/pantry. That way if something is missing from this week’s meal plan then you can quickly grab them while grocery shopping instead of forgetting about it at home!

Use Scraps Wisely

A good way to reduce your waste is by composting food scraps. If you do not have a backyard, there are still options for reducing the amount of trash that goes into landfills like making broth with your leftover vegetable scraps or using it as fertilizer

There are lots of options such as turning them into compost and using them as fertilizer. A great start on leaving less garbage at home would be recycling an old pot or bucket so you could use this instead of throwing out aluminum foil, plastic wrap, paper towels, etc when preparing meals

Learn Proper Storage Techniques

There is a right way and a wrong place to store each item that you purchase. Get the most use out of what you buy by being informed about how your items should be stored correctly from day one so they don’t get ruined before their time!

Preserve Your Own

You might think that cabbage is only for salads. But have you tried making it into sauerkraut? It is a great way to preserve and make the most of vegetables before they expire!  You can preserve, can, or pickle lots of different foods to extend their shelf life and make new and interesting dishes with them.

Eat Expired Food

It’s not uncommon for fresh food to be good well past the date it was made. A lot of people don’t know this, but most expiration dates are more about when stores need to sell by than any sort of safety warning.

Many foods indeed have an “expiration” or a “sell-by” date on their packaging and cans; however, these labels refer specifically to retailers who must remove them from shelves if they remain unsold after some prearranged amount of time has passed. What few realize is that just because something expires doesn’t mean you should throw out your groceries! Most canned goods will keep safely in storage at cool temperatures until as long as 7 days after their original sale day.

Managing food waste

With a little planning and thought, you can eliminate most food waste. If somehow you end up with extras due to too many sales or something else then just donate it!