5 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Studies show that Americans throw away between 40-50 percent of the food they purchase. Of the nearly one-third of the food produced in the world, approximately 1.3 billion tons of it goes to waste.
The greatest waste comes from fruits and vegetables. Consumers purchase them, and they go to waste before they are consumed. When fruits and vegetable aren't eaten in a certain amount of time, they spoil and need to be thrown away.
Meat and dairy account for 35 percent waste while cereals count for 30 percent.
It has been estimated that people in Europe and North America waste more food than people in Africa and Asia.
There are some ways to reduce food waste by taking simple steps.
1. Check What You Already Have
Before spending time extra money at the grocery store, check your pantry and cupboards to see if you already have certain items. Many times we forget what we have and end up buying something that we really don't need at the time. Since we have double of what we need, something becomes waste before we can use the old items and the new ones.
What we can do is plan meals around what we have so those items can be used up. Then make a list of what you need instead of buying extra.
Don't buy too much food at a certain time. This will help you avoid having food that spoils before you can use it. It also helps if you use what you purchased before it expires.
2. Buy Small Amounts from Salad Bar
If you need small amounts of fruits and vegetables, buy them from the salad bar. If you know you don't need a large green pepper, consider buying just a few pieces instead of spending extra money on a whole one.
This will eliminate the need for you to throw away any fruits and vegetables you don't need.
3. Buy from Bulk Bins
It will prevent you from wasting food if you purchase only what you need when you need it.
Just as you can purchase small amounts of fruits and vegetables from the salad bar, you can purchase nuts, grains, and spices from the bulk bins that are in most grocery stores. That way you can measure exactly what you need instead of buying excess.
4. Label and Date Leftovers
Have you ever wondered how long leftovers have been in your refrigerator or freezer? Many people have that problem that can easily be solved. Just keep some masking tape and a marker handy in your kitchen. This will make the process quick and easy.
You will be able to see at a glance when to eat the leftovers before they expire. In the meantime, you can combine leftovers to make a completely different meal. Simply throw leftovers together to make a pot of soup. When you have eaten enough of it, freeze the rest.
5. Freeze Foods
Many foods can be frozen to last longer. These include bread, cheese, butter, chopped onions, peppers, sauces, and lunch meat.
You do not have to freeze cereals, crackers and raw pasta. You should put them in airtight containers so they will stay fresh much longer.
Make the small changes listed above to make a big difference in your grocery bill. You can stop waste in its tracks by being creative when it comes to making those small changes.
There might be other things you can do to reduce waste. Feel free to add your ideas below in the comments section.