Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and wastes water and other resources needed to grow food. Although the average consumer is not a big environmental polluter compared to large corporations, finding ways to reduce food waste throughout the day can help a person avoid contributing to the problem.
- 1 Here are 15 ideas to reduce food waste at home, at school and on the go
- 1.1 1. Avoid buying too much
- 1.2 2. Think twice before throwing away food
- 1.3 3. Always make a shopping list
- 1.4 4. Organize the kitchen: first in, first out
- 1.5 5. Store food properly
- 1.6 6. Make a weekly menu
- 1.7 7. Keep a spoiled food log
- 1.8 8. Freeze extras
- 1.9 9. Eat leftovers
- 1.10 10. Try Food Preservation Methods
- 1.11 11. Make broth or stock
- 1.12 12. Understand dates on food
- 1.13 13. Compost leftovers
- 1.14 14. Prepare a lunch
- 1.15 15. Adapt restaurant meals
- 2 Benefits for the individual and the environment
Here are 15 ideas to reduce food waste at home, at school and on the go
1. Avoid buying too much
One of the easiest ways to avoid food waste as a consumer is to buy less. A packed refrigerator may look attractive, but it can lead to food waste if the household can’t eat all the food. Going to the supermarket or grocery store several times a week, rather than just once, can prevent people from buying too much food and help reduce food waste.
2. Think twice before throwing away food
Although mold is a sure sign that something should be thrown out, there is no need to throw out foods that are slightly past their shelf life. For example, many greens and vegetables may slightly soften or wilt when they are no longer quite ripe. However, they can be great additions to soups or cooked meals. Leftover vegetables can be used to make soup stock. Even stale bread can be used to make toast or breadcrumbs. Expiration dates can be misleading. If the produce still looks fresh and usable, you can usually eat it.
3. Always make a shopping list
Buying food that is already at home can become another source of waste. Taking inventory of foods in the house and making a shopping list before going to the store can help avoid unnecessary food purchases and reduce potential waste.
4. Organize the kitchen: first in, first out
Organizing the fridge and pantry can help keep track of what’s in the house and identify foods that are ready to eat.
Try this principle: first in, first out. This provides a useful way to organize food at home. Many restaurants and grocery stores also use this system to reduce waste. Placing newly purchased foods in the back of the cupboard or refrigerator encourages people to use foods from the front row first, ensuring freshness and reducing waste. For example, if someone keeps a lot of cans at home, make sure the ones with the earliest expiration date are at the front of the cupboard and use them first.
5. Store food properly
Perishable foods, such as fruits and vegetables, each have their own best way to store them to prevent them from spoiling.
here are a few tips
– keep the fridge below 5°C
– store cooked food on shelves above raw food
– keep food in airtight containers
– Always transfer leftovers from opened cans to a suitable container. Do not store them in the box.
Some fruits give off natural gases that cause nearby foods to spoil faster. Storing apples, bananas and tomatoes away from other perishables can help keep them all fresh.
Making a menu for the week can help some people organize their food intake and reduce waste. Using online tools or cookbooks to help plan meals for the week can help a person compile an accurate shopping list. It may take each household a few weeks to come up with a proper menu, but having a fixed weekly menu can help some people cut down on the guesswork around mealtimes and avoid food waste.
7. Keep a spoiled food log
Noting the types of foods that spoil can help a person identify which foods they can cut back on. For example, if a person finds they are throwing away a lot of spoiled oranges, the solution might be to buy fewer oranges to avoid spoilage. Although buying large bags of fruits and vegetables rather than one or two pieces may seem cheaper, a person will not save money if they consistently throw away some of the contents.
8. Freeze extras
Freezing food preserves it for later use and prevents it from spoiling. Many fresh fruits and vegetables keep well when frozen, which extends their shelf life and reduces waste. Other foods can also be stored in the freezer, such as bread, meats. For those looking to eat more sustainably, freezing extra fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season locally can reduce the need to purchase them when they are out of season and come from far away.
9. Eat leftovers
As part of a meal plan to reduce waste, many people choose one or two days a week to eat leftovers they have stored in the fridge or freezer. This helps reduce waste from individual meals and keeps the fridge tidy.
10. Try Food Preservation Methods
Canning or pickling foods can help extend their shelf life and prevent spoilage. If a person accidentally buys too much of a particular food, storing that food can prevent it from spoiling and being thrown away. Like turning apples into compote.
11. Make broth or stock
Excess food, scraps, and even some bones or other animal waste are excellent ingredients for various broths. By boiling excess vegetables, peelings and other leftovers, a hearty vegetable broth can be obtained. Boiling a chicken carcass and other leftovers, such as bones and skin, can become a tasty chicken broth. It is best to store homemade broth in the refrigerator and use it within a few days. However, freezing it will give it a much longer shelf life.
12. Understand dates on food
Many manufacturers put different labels on foods, such as “best before”. These dates help markets know when to rotate inventory, but they can be confusing for consumers. Up to 20% of food waste comes from confusion surrounding these dates.
Many people think these dates are expiration dates and throw away perfectly edible food. Remember that while food labels can give a general idea of a product’s freshness, they are not a hard and fast rule.
13. Compost leftovers
Most food preparations leave behind unusable stems, peels and bits of food. Even coffee grounds and tea leaves make a great addition to a compost pile. Creating a compost pile is one way to help reduce waste by turning even those leftovers into a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
For people who don’t have a garden or space for a composter or compost pile, many municipalities offer composting programs.
14. Prepare a lunch
One of the easiest ways to avoid food waste on the go is to bring food from home. Investing in quality containers that don’t leak and are lightweight and convenient to carry can help. Preparing extra portions of evening meals to store in the fridge as ready-made packed lunches can save you wasted time making lunch before work. It can also save a person money.
15. Adapt restaurant meals
When eating out, you can avoid food waste by ordering a meal that doesn’t contain ingredients you don’t like. For example, if brunch at a restaurant comes with toast that a person doesn’t normally eat, simply asking for no toast can help avoid the waste.
In addition to reducing waste, smaller portions can also prevent a person from overeating.
Benefits for the individual and the environment
Reducing food waste has several benefits for the individual and the environment. Halving food waste would greatly benefit the environment by reducing the need for land, water and other resources for growing food. Halving food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 gigatonnes (1.5 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050. has many benefits for individuals, including saving money by buying and wasting less food.