How you can reduce food waste

carrotAs I’m thinking about what I’m going to pack for my vacation next week, I’m also agonizing over how I can cook or preserve our perishable food before it spoils.

Food waste has been on my mind ever since I learned that 40% of all edible food in the U.S. is wasted with the average American tossing out roughly 20 pounds worth of food each month. Not only is this a waste of money, but the costs to the environment are startling. Plus, it’s almost criminal that this is occurring while half of all Americans don’t have access to healthy, affordable food.

Food waste is a national and global issue and it’s easy to feel helpless on a personal level, but fortunately there is a lot that individuals can do to reduce food waste.

The Natural Resources Defense Council put out some excellent tips we all can live by. From the NRDC:

Shop Wisely. Plan meals, use shopping lists, buy from bulk bins, and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items. Though these may be less expensive per ounce, they can be more expensive overall if much of that food is discarded.

Buy Funny Fruit. Many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.

Learn When Food Goes Bad. “Sell-by” and “use-by” dates are not federally regulated and do not indicate safety, except on certain baby foods. Rather, they are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. Most foods can be safely consumed well after their use-by dates.

For lots more tips, access the NRDC document here.

 

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