Food waste is a massive issue in the world today. It’s estimated that food waste accounts for about 1/3 of all food produced!
That’s a staggering number, and it’s something that we need to address if we want to be a more sustainable society.
In this article, we will discuss five ways that consumers can reduce food waste in their own homes. These are practical solutions that anyone can do without making too many changes to their lifestyle.
Let’s get started!
1. Plan Your Meals
One of the best ways to reduce food waste in your own home is to meal plan in advance with a shopping list. This way, you can make sure that you only buy the ingredients that you need and that you will actually use them.
Meal planning can also help you be more efficient in the kitchen, as you will know exactly what you need to do to make a meal.
When you plan your meals, this can help you to avoid situations where food goes bad before you have a chance to eat it.
In addition to cutting food waste, meal planning can help you with saving money on your food budget. When you know what you are going to eat ahead of time, you are less likely to make impulse purchases at the grocery store.
2. Shop smart
Beyond planning your meals, be sure to be smart about the way in which you do your grocery shopping.
This means avoiding pre-packaged foods, which often contain more than one serving size. It also means avoiding impulse buys and sticking to your shopping list.
Grocery stores that offer 2-for-1 sales may sound like an appealing way to save money, but these sales can often lead to over-purchasing supplies that ultimately will not get used.
By shopping smart, you can save money and avoid bringing home more food than is necessary. The best way to cut household waste is to avoid having too much food to begin with.
3. Store Food Properly
Another way to reduce food waste is to store your food properly. This means keeping track of the shelf life and expiration dates and making sure that all the food items, from bread to fruits and vegetables, are stored in a way that will keep them fresh for as long as possible.
We’ve previously covered some of the ways different fruits and vegetables can be stored for optimal longevity and freshness, which you can read more about here.
Being mindful of which items are best kept at room temperature, which prefer refrigeration, and which items should spend half of their time at room temperature and the other half refrigerated is key.
This isn’t just for peak quality but for longevity as well.
4. Use Your freezer
Your freezer can be your best friend when it comes to reducing food waste and helping you save money. If you have leftovers and food scraps that you know you won’t be able to eat within a few days, pop them in the freezer and save them for another time.
You can also use your freezer to extend the expiration date on products and store edible food scraps, soup stock, imperfect produce, and other items that can be used to make things like smoothies, broths, and cakes.
Avoid food waste by freezing food items that you won’t be able to use right away. Simply wash and chop the fruits and vegetables you want to preserve and then store them in airtight containers in the freezer.
You can also plan meals for the week, then bulk-cook and freeze them for later, which can save you both time and money in the long run.
There’s no greater feeling than having ready-to-eat meals in your freezer when you’re in the middle of a busy work week.
5. Donate Excess Food
Finally, one of the best ways to reduce food waste is to donate any excess food that you have to a local food bank or soup kitchen. This way, you know that any of your food that is fit for human consumption will go to someone who needs it.
If your household’s efforts to reduce food waste are still falling short, be sure to donate all excess to any non-profit.
You can make a big difference in the amount of food waste your household produces just by making a few small changes to the way you shop, store, and cook your meals.
And it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Just incorporating one or two of these tips into your routine can dramatically reduce how much wasted food comes out of your home.
While this article has looked mainly at how these changes can help benefit you, the consumer, it also helps reduce common greenhouse gas emissions from daily life.
If you’re interested in learning more about reducing food waste and your carbon footprint, check out our free online courses.
With a little effort, we can all do our part to help create a more sustainable future for ourselves and the planet.