Your Guide to Food Waste Prevention
Enough food to feed 3 billion people is wasted or lost every year. While people starve, so much edible food goes to waste.
Most food waste comes from large businesses and corporations, but that doesn’t mean the average person shouldn’t consider food waste prevention in their own home. We can all make a difference if we work together.
Here, we’ll discuss the importance of food waste prevention and offer a few food waste prevention tips to help you out. Read on to learn more.
[Related: Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Hacks]
Why Is Food Waste Prevention Important?
For starters, let’s talk about why you should care about food waste in the first place. Why should preventing food waste at home be a priority when massive corporations are largely responsible for most global food waste?
Although individual households can only do so much, preventing food waste at home may actually lower food costs — if everyone contributes. Food waste prevention can also reduce greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of food production.
On a large scale, preventing food waste helps low-income communities struggling with food insecurity.
On a personal level, when you prevent food waste in your home, you can save money. With the rising cost of groceries, you can (and should) buy only what you need.
Plus, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and do a good deed for the world as a whole. So, how can you help? Let’s get into those tips.
Start Meal Planning
More people than ever are preplanning their meals, and that’s great! But we don’t just mean planning a meal the day before you cook it. We’re talking about planning an entire week’s worth of meals before you go grocery shopping.
But how can meal planning prevent food waste?
When you plan your meals ahead of time, you’ll know everything that you’re going to need to eat for the week (besides snacks, which you can certainly plan out, but it’s generally okay to be flexible with snacking).
You won’t end up grabbing food off the shelves that you don’t need.
Preplanning your meals for the week will also let you see what ingredients you can use in multiple recipes. This is particularly important if you’re cooking for only one or two people. You’ll probably have plenty of an ingredient left over from one meal.
For example, you might buy a bag of potatoes to make mashed potatoes on Monday. When you’re meal planning, you can reuse those potatoes on Wednesday to make stew.
This tactic will also make you a smarter shopper. You’ll no longer buy perishables in large quantities just to end up throwing them away.
[Related: Best Items to Buy in Bulk]
Use Apps to Prevent Food Waste
Your phone can be a helpful resource when it comes to finding ways to prevent food waste at home. Fortunately, food waste prevention apps are available!
Not all food waste apps are branded as such. Some are recipe apps. You enter the ingredients you have at home, and the app suggests recipes containing those ingredients — and you won’t waste them.
You can also find apps that notify you when local stores and restaurants are giving away leftover food (or lowering the price) before they throw it away. In addition, people can list food that they’re willing to donate to see if any community members need it.
Look Into Food Waste Prevention Programs
You can check out global and local food waste prevention organizations if you’re trying to reduce your own food waste or help on a larger scale.
Some organizations are great for single households. For example, food subscription boxes may send out food that would otherwise have been thrown away. Misfits Market is a fantastic example of such a service.
You can look into local food pantries, where you can give leftover food and ingredients so that other people can use them. Grassroots organization Little Free Pantry promotes a global movement to reduce and prevent food waste.
Be Mindful About Refrigerator Organization and Storage
How you organize your food can affect how much food you waste.
With nonperishables, this isn’t a major problem. Most of the food in your cabinets and pantry can stick around for a long time without going bad. You should keep track of your dry foods, but they’re not as critical in terms of food waste as the foods in your refrigerator and freezer.
Let’s talk about how to organize your fridge to prevent food waste.
Avoid the urge to push older food toward the back of the refrigerator when you stock up on new food. Instead, prioritize older food so that you eat it before it goes bad.
We recommend labeling leftovers with the date that you cooked them. This way, you’ll be able to eat leftovers before they spoil. You can also label any homemade goods.
Use some helpful food storage items to keep your food fresher longer. Airtight glass and plastic containers are great for storing food in both your cabinets and fridge.
You can also use a product like the Bluapple to preserve fresh produce in your fridge.
[Related: Best Things to Buy at Costco]
Compost Kitchen Scraps
Some food waste is unavoidable. Whether you have scraps of food from cooking (like potato peels) or leftovers that are so small that they can’t make another meal, you’ll sometimes need to get rid of old food.
For a green option, try composting instead of throwing away food.
You can buy or build a compost bin to put in your kitchen or outdoors. Compost bins may smell (after all, the food scraps are decomposing), so people often prefer to place bins outside.
Put only organic food waste into compost bins. Over time, the waste will break down into nutrient-rich compost that you can use to fertilize your garden. By using the fertilizer, practically nothing goes to waste.
Remember: Food Waste Prevention Matters
Food waste prevention is good for the economy, underserved populations, the planet and your wallet. The bulk of the responsibility is on large corporations, but you can find ways to prevent food waste and make a difference in your own home.
With our tips, you can start making a change now.
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