When you think about landfill contributors, you may picture items like plastic and other unbiodegradable materials. However, food waste is a major contributor to landfills — In fact, 60 million metric tons of food waste ends up in landfills every year, resulting in methane emissions, which perpetuate climate change. If you’re interested in lowering your carbon footprint, looking into ways to reduce your food waste is a good starting point. Here are a few things you can do right at home.
Plan Your Meals
Have you ever purchased a box of fresh greens only to throw it away weeks later, unopened? Meal prep is an easy solution to this all-too-common issue. We’re big fans of meal-prepping not only for its time-saving benefits but also for its environmental ones — planning out your meals in advance is an easy way to reduce your daily food waste. When you plan out your meals ahead of time, you’ll lower the chances of having to toss food in the trash due to rot or spoilage. Check out some of our favorite meal-prep posts right here:
Store Food Correctly
While planning your meals ahead of time can easily help you reduce your food waste, it won’t do much good if you aren’t storing your food correctly. The way in which food is stored will determine its longevity and edibility. Be sure to familiarize yourself with some food storage best practices so that your items stay fresh as long as possible and you have time to consume them before they spoil. For example, tomatoes can cause nearby produce to rot quicker, so it’s best to store them on their own. You can find more food storage tips from the FDA here.
Get Creative With Your Meals
Do you toss bruised produce in the trash? You may be able to get more life out of your food items than you previously thought possible. It’s time to start getting creative with your meals. Many foods can still be used in recipes even when they’re no longer at their peak quality. For example, if you have some bruised fruit, throw it in your blender with milk, nut butter and some ice to create a simple smoothie.
Use Your Leftovers
No matter how much you prepare and store food correctly, you’re still going to produce some food waste. When you find yourself with leftovers, try to find alternatives to throwing it away in the trash. For example, leftover meats make tasty treats for pets. Composting is another to reuse your leftovers and reduce your food waste. Check out the EPA’s guide to composting at home here.
For more green-living tips, check out some of these previous posts: