How to Reduce Food Waste at Home

The statistics are staggering. More than 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, half of which happens at home.

Most people don’t realize how much food they throw away. Leftovers, uneaten food or spoiled produce ends up going into the trash, creating a huge impact on our environment and economy. Food is the largest source of material in our landfills and food waste is estimated at $161-$165 billion dollars.

Three major benefits of reducing wasted food:

  • SAVE MONEY because you’re buying less food.
  • REDUCE METHANE EMISSIONS by keeping organic waste out of landfills.
  • CONSERVE ENERGY by reducing the need to grow, package, transport and sell it.

Ways you can reduce wasting food:

  • “Shop” your refrigerator first! Cook and eat what you already have before buying more.
  • Keep a shopping list of only the things your household enjoys.
  • Plan your meals and only buy the things needed for those meals. Here are some savvy meal planning tips.
  • Only buy the amount of food you plan to use.
  • If you’re buying in bulk, make sure you’ll be able to use it all before it spoils.
  • Store fruits and vegetables the proper way so they stay fresh longer. Use this handy guide by Real Simple.
  • Often, produce that’s past its prime is still perfectly good for cooking. Think sauces, soups, casseroles, and smoothies.
  • Freeze surplus food and thaw portions as you need them.
  • Prepare and cook meal ingredients, such as taco meat, and freeze for future use.
  • Eat those leftovers! Here are more than 790 recipes using leftovers by AllRecipes.com.
  • At restaurants, order only what you plan to finish. But if you have extra, take the leftovers home for your next lunch.
  • Get more tips by downloading the EPA’s  “Too Good to Waste” Toolkit.