Good Food Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

By Kevin Pink, Customer Service & Marketing Assistant

Food is one of the things that binds humanity together. It isn’t just vital for our everyday lives, though; it’s also a RFW_Milk_24x36.inddcentral part of every culture and society…so it may surprise you to know how much of it we’re wasting. According to the USDA, Americans waste up 40% of our food supply (costing a whopping $162 billion)! Even worse, wasted food is the biggest component going into municipal landfills, where it generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide. In fact, landfills are the third-largest source of methane in the US. Help reduce food waste with some our favorite food-saving tips!

BUYING

-Shop at home first. Why buy more of something you already have?

-Shop local. If you’re trying to cut down on carbon emissions, consider buying something that wasn’t shipped across the country (or the planet), but just down the street. Find your local farmer’s market with LocalHarvest.

-Plan meals and bring a shopping list. Buying only what you need will save you money AND keep you from wasting food.

-Buy ugly. If you’re making a soup or casserole, does it really matter that those peppers aren’t the prettiest? They taste the same, so remember; looks aren’t everything! Some grocers will even give you a discount for buying “misfit” produce, so investigate!

STORAGE
AdCouncil_FullPage_Chicken-First in, first out: when you purchase new items, move older ones to the front of your refrigerator so you use them first.

-Know that the “use/sell/best by” date on packaging doesn’t mean the product is unsafe after that date. It’s typically an estimate from the manufacturer about when the item will be at its peak quality. If it an item looks, smells, and tastes fine, it’s probably fine to eat!

-If you’re not going to use all of a packaged product immediately, consider freezing it. Chicken breasts or vegetables will keep much longer in the freezer than the refrigerator.

 

 

COOKING

-Get creative: Use as many parts of each ingredient as you can. Beet greens and broccoli stems can be sautéed as a AdCouncil_FullPage_Breadside, and you can use scraps to make stocks/soups.

-Search recipes for items you have at home. The USDA’s “What’s Cooking?” is a great resource for using up things you already have.

LEFTOVERS

-Seriously, eat your leftovers. Bringing them to work for lunch will save you from buying lunch, and help you stretch your dollar further.

-Give them a second life. You had mashed potatoes on Thursday- why not consider shepherd’s pie on Sunday, using those leftover potatoes?

-Share them! Bring your leftovers to the office, friends, or relatives! See if you can donate to a local food rescue organization or soup kitchen. Check out RecyclingWorksMA’s food donation page for more information.

-Table to farm! If you don’t compost at home, find a local compost site. Some towns have them, and many farms will take food items as compost or as animal feed.

There you have it, a few simple tips to reduce wasted food. For more, check out the EPA’s page  on the subject or the Ad Council and Natural Resources Defense Council’s “Save the Food” campaign.

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